Three Critical Questions Heading into Spring Practices


Starting on Tuesday, March 31st, Oregon will officially open up their facilities to kick off spring practices. The NCAA permits only 15 spring practices, which Oregon will take advantage of in order to prepare and showcase old, along with new, talent.

So, without further ado, here are three important questions going into spring practices:

1. Who’s going to step up on the offensive line?

The departure of T Andre Yruteagoyena adds to the possible lack of leadership the offensive line will have next season. Luckily, some likely candidates to fill in the leadership gap could be T Tyler Johnstone and T/G Matt Pierson who have been with the football program the longest out of all offensive lineman. Any of these individuals can be pivotal for the Ducks down the stretch of a long season. On top of that, Oregon commit and 4-star prospect, Zach Okun, could be utilized as a replacement for Yruteagoyena.

Tyner racked up over 500 yards last season, despite suffering from an ankle injury mid-season.

Kevin Cline

Tyner racked up more than 500 yards last season, despite suffering an ankle injury mid-season.

2. Who’s part of the running back core?

Last season we saw RB Royce Freeman and RB Thomas Tyner operate most of the run game. At times, we witnessed RB Byron Marshall take some shots at running the ball. Freeman, Tyner, and Marshall are all coming back this year, but the question is how are the Ducks going to fit incoming true freshman Taj Griffin and redshirt freshman Tony James into the mix?

There could be a probability that Marshall would be utilized as a slot receiver, similar to last season. In that case, the running back core will be a combination of Freeman, Tyner, and Griffin. Or instead of Griffin being the third option at running back, the Ducks would stick in James. During his senior season at high school, Griffin tore his ACL and has been recovering from the injury ever since. It would be wise, in this case, to give Griffin time to rehabilitate from his injury until it’s completely 100%.

3. Who’s going to fill the vacancies at defensive back?

It’s likely that CB Chris Seisay will be taking either Ifo Ekpre-Olomu‘s or Troy Hill‘s position. Plus, S Reggie Daniels is among the top candidates to take over for S Erick Dargan‘s position. But, the odds of both Seisay and Daniels fulfilling these roles are solely based on the assumption that they were productive for Oregon football last season. The last DB vacancy will be up for grabs, though, as the competition will include highly-touted redshirt freshmen Mattrell McGraw and Khalil Oliver as well as sophomore Arrion Springs.

Top Photo by Kevin Cline

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  Again, these are volunteer positions donating five hours a week each.

Austin Willhoft

Austin Willhoft

Hey! My name is Austin Willhoft and I'm currently a freshman at the University of Oregon studying Journalism. I lived my whole life down in sunny and beautiful Laguna Beach, CA where I completed all of my prior education. I always have been into sports writing/reporting mostly due to the fact that I love watching, analyzing, and playing all kinds of sports. However, if I were to narrow it down between two sports, it would be basketball and football, both of which I played heavily in high school. I'm thrilled to be working for and most importantly being a third generation to attend the UO. Sko Ducks!

  • Dentonz

    The next post you write should be about everyone you left off here. That one would be a lot longer and more accurate. I guess you have a long ways to go yet, and time to make amends.

    • Thanks for commenting on my post. I understand that I left a lot of players off this article, but there’s a certain criteria I have to follow when writing articles. If I had more leeway with the word count, I would be more than happy to write a longer article going more in depth with the questions. Evidently, I do have a long ways to go with my dream of working in the journalism field. I’m only a freshman at the UO and this is a whole new realm of writing that I’ve never explored before coming to this school. Thank you for commenting on my article and giving me advice.

  • Michael G

    I’m curious as to why the MOST CRITICAL question wasn’t on this list of the “Three critical questions”…Who will be QB…or even who will separate themselves at that position this spring, to compete with Vernon Adams in the fall.

    I like the breakdown of the O-Line & DB, but is the depth chart for the RIDICULOUSLY deep and talented RB position…”critical”? has reported that Charles Nelson has been moved to a DB, and while he will need to grow into that position, his talent set makes for a very intriguing move. The defensive backfield is really going to need to step up. There is a lot of talent there, but not a ton of experience. The Pac12 is certainly a league that requires good DB’s to be successful.

    Good read, keep them coming!


    I am not a Journalism Major so I will not comment on your story as if I know what I’m talking about! I do know Football and will talk about it with anyone and I enjoy all the posts from Fishduck as you guy’s keep it fresh material pretty much daily. Congratulation’s on your journalism career and being a DUCK 1ST of all!

    • Thank you, I appreciate it! I have been checking the comments you’ve been leaving on other writers articles and I have to say, you do know a lot about football. Thank you for coming to the site and reading our articles. Take care.