All signs point to the 2013 Oregon Ducks being a bit more pass happy than in recent years. With the graduation of Kenjon Barner, Chip Kelly’s departure, Marcus Mariota’s growth into a Heisman-caliber quarterback, and the promotion of wide receivers coach Scott Frost to offensive coordinator, it just makes sense that the Ducks will be inclined to throw the ball more this season.
That’s a relatively safe prediction, and I’ll back it up with some numbers and individual predictions for receivers. Mariota and Bryan Bennett combined for 373 pass attempts, 250 completions, 35 touchdowns and nearly 2900 yards in 2012. Based off that, I’m predicting Mariota will throw the ball 400+ times, accumulating 35+ touchdowns and 3300+ yards.
Predictions for receivers:
The Ducks’ attention-getting, pass-catching tight end, Lyerla is listed first because I think he is the most vital piece to success on offense. Word on the street is that he’s slimmed down a bit, which should help him stay healthy for an entire season. And a healthy season for the 6-foot-5 Lyerla will equal a happy season for Oregon.
Lyerla should finish with 45+ receptions, 600+ yards, and 10 touchdowns.
2012 Stats (affected by a mid-season knee injury): 25 receptions, 392 yards, 6 touchdowns.
Huff is a serious deep threat with NFL-quality speed and is becoming more polished as a route runner. Entering his senior season, he will either break out and become a star for the Ducks or simply be a solid contributor.
Huff should have 50-70 receptions, 700-1000 yards, and 9 touchdowns.
2012 Stats (missed 3+ early-season games with a knee injury): 32 receptions, 493 yards, 7 touchdowns.
De’Anthony Thomas is harder to predict, as his growth into the feature back role may hurt his receiving stats. Daryle Hawkins and Keanon Lowe will compete with young guns B.J. Kelley and Bralon Addison, both of whom are superior athletes.