If there was a weakness for the Ducks last year, it was without a doubt, the offensive line. As difficult as it is to say, the line play is the reason we lost the Arizona game, and almost lost against Washington State. But when we got healthy, we were once again the usual explosive offense us Duck fans were used to. Three seniors are gone now, so what does the offensive line look like for 2015?
The offensive line is usually a strength for Oregon, and I’m here to let you know it will be again in 2015. Even with seniors Hroniss Grasu (C), Hamani Stevens (G), and Jake Fisher (T) all gone due to graduation, the necessary shuffle from last season’s injuries will only help the Ducks this year. Freshman Tyrell Crosby (who made his first ever appearance at Washington State following injuries to tackles Jake Fisher, Andre Yruretagoyena, and Tyler Johnstone) played in all the following games and improved tremendously. Add him with the return of 2015 seniors Johnstone, Yruretagoyena, and walk-on Matt Pierson, and those four should provide solid depth at the outside of the offensive line.
As for the interior of the line, Cameron Hunt, who will be a junior in 2015, started last season opposite Stevens at right guard; so it’s likely he will start again this year. Sophomore-to-be Jake Pisarcik was second on the depth chart last year and will have a good chance to earn a starting spot for next season. Those two starters, plus some inexperienced freshman reserves from last season and incoming freshman Zach Okun, and Oregon should be just fine at the middle of the offensive line.
As for center, replacing a four year starter, three time Pac-12 All-American, two time national All-American and future NFL draft pick Hroniss Grasu will be no easy task. Luckily for us, we have another stud waiting to shine. Sophomore Doug Brenner was ready to start last year if Grasu left early for the NFL, according to coaches, and eventually got to start due to Grasu’s injury late in the year. It should be fairly certain he will start at center in 2015.
It’s not even spring practice yet, so it is way to early to tell who will be the starters come September, but it’s fun to speculate. Barring an injury filled season like last year, the Ducks should have another great offensive line with a good mix of youth and experience. The Ducks have the weapons at receiver and running back, but it’s up to the line to open running lanes or pass protect long enough to give the new quarterback needed time. Spring practice and fall camp will answer most of the questions we have leading into this year. This will be fun.
Top photo by Kevin Cline