If Week 1 was any indication, De’Anthony Thomas won’t be lining up at wide receiver — much. I was intrigued by the game plan vs. Nicholls, which had DAT lining up almost exclusively at running back and running between the tackles. Perhaps Coach Helfrich was eager for Thomas to seize the feature back role after the departure of Kenjon Barner, though I expected to see him lined up out wide a bit more. If Thomas’ absence on the outside created a void, Josh Huff filled it
by using his speed and sharp route-running to grab five passes for 118 yards, with a long of 46. He paired well with Bralon Addison, who had 41 yards and a TD (and made the ESPN highlight reel with this juke); Keanon Lowe also had a 41-yard reception, while Colt Lyerla added one reception for 13 yards.
It will be interesting to see how Helfrich utilizes DAT as the season progresses, as his presence at receiver really stretches the field and makes the offense more dynamic. The Ducks have 7+ receivers who are viable options, but Huff and Thomas are the only ones who have shown they can be consistent playmakers. Bralon Addison and Colt Lyerla have the talent to be great; they just need to get their numbers called more often by OC Scott Frost.
If Huff can keep grabbing five or six passes a game, the Ducks may not need DAT’s playmaking ability at wide receiver. The key with Huff has always been his health, but he looks to be in great shape. I’m looking forward to watching him grow as a leader and show the young guns what it takes to be a great receiver.
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