When you think about Oregon’s offense, words like fast, strong and resilient come to mind. All-star wide receiver Dwayne Stanford is the epitome of what it means to be a part of Oregon’s offense. The 6’5″ redshirt junior has had an impressive career with the Ducks so far and hopes to keep his streak alive. With a team high of 90 yards in the Ducks first game of the season against Eastern Washington, it seems that this wide receiver will not disappoint.
In high school Stanford held his own both on the football field and the basketball court. Before coming to Oregon Stanford helped lead his team to the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference league championship for the football team and the OHSAA Division 3 title with his basketball team. HIs junior year was full of accomplishments as he was named the CMAC Offensive Player of the Year and all-Ohio first-team receiver.
As proud to be a Duck as Stanford is, he almost wasn’t one. The Ohio State Buckeyes almost claimed him as one of their own. With Stanford’s high school best friend committing to becoming a Buckeye it seemed that he would follow suit. However, a trip to Oregon to see a game and view the facilities had Stanford committing to the Ducks. Scott Frost even went as far as to say that the recruiting process was “easy” (Cleveland.com).
Since coming to Oregon, Stanford has been able to put up some impressive stats and make his name known as a Duck. In his freshman year he accumulated 106 yards and appeared in 13 games. A devastating knee injury in the preseason forced him to be out for his second season with the Ducks. Even with that injury, Stanford came came back in full force the next year and became one of the team’s primary receivers. Ever since then he has held his place in the spotlight and has been on everyone’s watch list.
This year more eyes were on Oregon as many want to see just how they will do following such a big shakeup to their roster. The Vernon Adams vs. Jeff Lockie debate had the main focus and all fans seemed to want to get an inside look into how the players felt about it. Stanford had only positive words to say about both players.
With Stanford being on offense, the quarterback position has more of an effect on his success than it would if he were on defense. How he interacts with Vernon or Lockie is going to determine what kind of game he gets to play. So far he has been able to see a difference in how the two players throw. “Coming out of Vernon’s hands a lot of times it has more zip to it,” Stanford states.
With the starting role falling more in Vernon’s hands, many wondered how Lockie would handle being placed in the backup position. According to Stanford, Lockie has still been playing a large role for the team. “Throughout all of this quarterback competition stuff, Lockie has remained true to himself.”
Every college football team has a mantra that helps to define who they are. For Oregon Win The Day is not only a mantra, but a way of life that seems to be instilled in every player on the team. No game is overlooked when it comes to WTD either. No matter who the opponent is players on the Ducks keep WTD at the front of their mind. ”We won’t look over anybody,” Stanford said. “Whoever else is on the schedule, that’s who were going to worry about.”
What we can expect from Stanford this year: speed and knowledge. “He looks faster to me this year. He knows exactly what he’s doing at every position. So he’s one of many guys who’s going to give us playmakers and depth” (Scott Frost, Statesman Journal). Since this will be his third year on the team, Stanford has the knowledge and experience that the new recruits do not. He is now in the position to show that he can no only be a game changer for the Ducks, but a leader as well.
One thing that Stanford thinks people will notice to be different about the Ducks this year is their speed. This is the one thing that people already see Oregon as having plenty of, but according to this receiver the fans should only expect more. Another area in particular where improvements will be seen is in between plays. ”We’ve been getting set and been getting into what we want to get into real fast.” Transitions like these are what keeps Oregon in control of the game. When the team can stick to their tempo, that is when they dominate.
As far as practice goes, the amount of reps may have decreased, but the tempo is still the same. Ducks have been doing a lot of running drills to keeps the boys at top condition. ”All we do in practice is run,” says Sanford. Receivers like Stanford play a very important role in keeping the tempo up when it comes to getting where they need to be on the field.
Dwayne Stanford is a player that Oregon fans expect to make great plays when he steps out onto the field. From remarkable catches to game-changing moments, Stanford is definitely one of the reasons that the Ducks will be a big threat this upcoming year.
Top Photo Credit: Kevin Cline