Feature photo – Kevin Cline
Fall camp is a time of opportunity.
But starting positions are about as free as free shipping on purchases over $100. You still have to pay the initial price – or put in the work – to get the reward.
With the 2013 football season officially underway, there are several big story lines that Duck fans, along with the rest of the country, will be keeping tabs on.
Who will backup Marcus Mariota? Are the rumors of Colt Lyerla playing more in the backfield true? Who will fill out the starting five on the offensive line?
While these stories are sure to attract attention, there are several less hyped story lines that should not be overlooked.
How will the receivers shake out?
Last year’s starting receivers were De’Anthony Thomas, Josh Huff and Keanon Lowe.
In probably Oregon’s deepest, yet least proven position, the receiving core still has a lot of figuring out to do.
Lowe’s name as a starter to begin last season surprised many Duck fans, but consistency and grit throughout the season put any questions to rest.
Huff and Thomas’ production should both increase, albeit in different areas on the stat sheet.
While none of the starters seem to change much to start this season, there are a host of young, talented receivers itching for a breakout.
With Thomas assuredly receiving more carries, at least one receiver has a chance to earn valuable reps this season.
Will it be Eric Dungy, whose fierce blocking and superb hair highlight his play on the field every time he steps on the turf?
Or BJ Kelley, who is one of the more prototypical looking receivers, at 6-3, Oregon has on it’s roster.
Dwayne Stanford suffered a leg injury earlier in the year, but appears to be a full-go heading into Game 1.
Can one of the true freshmen, Devon Allen or Darren Carrington, force the coaches to toss the redshirt back in the closet?
The evaluation of Damion Hobbs.
Many Duck fans were surprised that Hobbs received a scholarship for quarterback instead of an athlete, and he will surely be under someone’s microscope during fall camp.
A fantastic athlete, yet raw field general, Hobbs reminds many onlookers of a Jeremiah Masoli. A well-built kid who can truck over opposing defensive backs and slip through linebackers, but doesn’t have the same passing ability that Oregon coaches have recruited over the last few seasons.
Hobbs is a quarterback.
Is a position change possible down the line? Sure it is.
But it won’t be any time soon.
How did the redshirt pay off for the defensive backs?
Oregon signed four defensive backs in 2012, and due to the volume and talent in Oregon’s secondary, all were fortunate enough to redshirt.
These four have success in football at their fingertips with a chance to redshirt and hone their skills, play sparingly, valuable minutes as redshirt freshman, and have a chance at a starting spot by sophomore year.
Reggie Daniels was the hot name to leak out of the Moshofsky Center walls last year. His name constantly arose when reporters questioned about progressing redshirts.
The Amoako Twins, Eric and Stephen, join Oshay Dunmore as the 2012 redshirts looking to make a name for themselves this fall.
With a loaded secondary, maybe the best in the country, the Ducks don’t need any of these players to see the field considerably, if at all, until 2014.
But making sure these kids progress in order to make an impact in ’14 is as big a storyline as any this fall. The Ducks may lose three of the four starting db’s this season so finding replacements will be a priority this season.
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Brandon is a senior at The University of Oregon majoring in Film Studies and minoring in Communications. Brandon has been a Duck fan for ten years since he moved from southern California to Salem, Oregon, and quickly realized the Ducks were the missing piece in his life. A Pac-12 fan since birth, much of his family attended UCLA and has since converted all of them to the Quack Attack. Brandon interned for the Statesman Journal covering the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and hopes to work for the Pac-12 in the near future. He also hopes to see the “Flying-V” formation played out on the football field in the fall of 2013. Brandon would love your feedback on any and all articles. Tweet me: @BrandonGruber
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