“Injured” Ducks to Play in National Championship Game

Oregon's starting center Hroniss Grasu was among a number of key players who suffered significant injuries.

This season has been amazing on so many levels for the Oregon Ducks, but one of the most overlooked aspects of it might be their response to injuries.

Yes, it’s a common phrase that “injuries are part of the game of football.” However, if we take a step back and look at the key impairments over the entire season, I bet even the most optimistic Duck fan would have struggled to believe they would be playing for the National Championship Game. (Note: I am just going to give the position and name and not dwell on injury specifics.)

See the below-mentioned injuries:

1.) Lost starting left tackle Tyler Johnstone before the season began.

2.) Lost #1 returning WR Bralon Addison before the season began.

3.) Lost starting TE Pharoah Brown for the season during conference play.

4.) Lost starting center Hroniss Grasu for a number of games during conference play.

5.) Lost starting RB Thomas Tyner for over a month during conference play.

6.) Lost starting and elite cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu before the Rose Bowl.

7.) Lost #2 WR Devon Allen on opening kickoff of Rose Bowl.

Pharaoh Brown was viewed as one of of the top TE's in the country before he was injured in the Utah game

Craig Strobeck

Pharaoh Brown was viewed as one of of the top TE’s in the country before he was injured in the Utah game.

There were also a number of other key injuries on the offensive line and injuries particularly early in the season.

If you knew these injuries would happen before the season began, would you predict that Oregon would be in the National Championship Game? The Ducks did not just lose players to injuries — but rather they lost STAR players who have been recognized for so many honors and awards that it would take another article to note them!

What does this say about Oregon? And where they are now, on the eve of the National Championship Game?

Bralon Addison was considered the #1 returning WR and was lost for the season during before the first game

Kevin Cline

Bralon Addison was considered the #1 returning WR … before getting injured.

Three things stand out:

1.) Most importantly, it speaks to the TALENT and DEPTH of the team. For all of those names noted, another article could be written with the names of players who took their places and performed exceptionally well.

2.) This in turn speaks volumes about Coach Mark Helfrich and the staff, as to not only their coaching abilities but also recruiting efforts. Many Duck fans may have had concerns about the transition from the “genius” Chip Kelly to the Oregon homegrown Mark Helfrich, as to whether the bar Kelly had set could be maintained let alone improved upon. This season, regardless of the outcome of the National Championship Game, has demonstrated that Helfrich is an elite coach.

3.) The exceptional quarterback we have in Marcus Mariota. Great players make everyone around them better. Oregon has talent and depth at many positions on both sides of the ball and exceptional coaching. However, the offense takes the “conductor”(Mariota) on the field of play to lead the orchestra into performing well.

The phrase “next man up” became the mantra under the Chip Kelly era, whenever a player went down with an injury. This season has proven to everyone across the country, and most importantly to the team itself, that the new mantra should be “next winner up.” GO DUCKS!

Top photo by Gary Breedlove

Print Friendly

 Volunteer Position Openings:

--Media Management/Supervisor:  We are looking for someone beyond college age who can help manage students and mentor in a number of different departments. Expertise is not required as organizational skills and interest in guiding others.   --Assistant Football Analyst: Love college football and enjoy watching it for hours? We need associates to view games and find the techniques/teaching points we identify for them in advance.  You will be recognized in publications, and could have the opportunity to move to full Analyst.   --College Football Analyst: We are looking for Coaches, or retired coaches to help create analysis videos (we do the video part) that will be viewed by thousands, and will help young football players as well as fans understand the game much better. The national recognition will help your resume' as well as make an impact upon the game we all dearly love.   --Video Specialist: We are looking for help in the Eugene/Springfield area to assist with the shooting and editing of analysis videos.   All Positions: Send a resume' with full contact information and any writing samples you have to charles@fishduck.com  Again, these are volunteer positions donating five hours a week each.

Dave Kensler

Dave Kensler

I grew up in Eugene beginning in the sixth grade. Graduated from South Eugene High School in 1973 and the University of Oregon in 1977 with a BS in Journalism. My father was on the UO faculty(Architecture and Allied Arts School) and I have been a life long Duck fan! While my present work is that of being a tennis teaching professional, I continue use my college degree in a wide assortment of writing efforts and look forward to doing so with FishDuck!