Two weeks into the season and as expected, the Ducks offense hasn’t faltered. Vernon Adams Jr. fought through a broken finger to throw for more than 300 yards and extend Oregon’s streak of games with a passing touchdown to 70 in last week’s defeat at the hands of Michigan State.
The defense improved in a much tougher contest than the Week 1 matchup against Eastern Washington, but ultimately fell short. The first loss of the year has turned each remaining game into a must-win situation if the Ducks hope to return to the College Football Playoff.
A significant contributor to the small successes and tough luck defeat of the defense has been sophomore Arrion Springs, whose debut as a starting cornerback for the Ducks has not gone smoothly over his first two games.
Springs’ tackling skills are unparalleled in the young secondary that head coach Mark Helfrich has already scolded for missing tackles. Limited playing time as a true freshman held him to grabbing only three tackles over 10 games, two of which were unassisted. Nevertheless, his skills stood out among a talented group, helping his case for winning a starting spot coming into this season.
In his high school career, Springs showed an above-average ability to stop a play, racking up 75 tackles (46 unassisted) in his senior year alone.
That trend has continued as he got to work quickly in the season opener, making seven tackles with two pass breakups. Last week against Michigan State his physical play improved, as he was involved with 13 total tackles –and he can take sole credit for six.
The 5’11, 205 lb. sophomore has had little problem stopping receivers after the ball reaches their hands; unfortunately, his job is to kill plays before they get to that point, and he has struggled in that department.
Oregon’s secondary is one of the youngest in the Pac-12, sporting two freshman, five sophomores and a single upperclassman — junior safety Reggie Daniels. The only other Pac-12 team without a senior in its secondary is the up-and-coming UCLA.
While Oregon is thin on experience in the secondary, the Ducks have no shortage of talent. Ty Griffin made an appearance as a safety against Eastern Washington, but it’s rumored he is being groomed for a cornerback role where his slight height advantage (6’0) could give him an edge over Springs.
Entering the season, Daniels was tabbed to be the leader and anchor of the young secondary, but he has struggled in the first two games, as well. missing tackles and giving up big plays in on the second level.
With Springs’ superb tackling ability and troubles with coverage, we could see shuffling of roles in the near future. In order to take full advantage of the speed and power he possesses, dropping him to safety could be the answer the struggling Ducks secondary is looking for.
The inexperienced defense has only two games under its belt and promises to improve as the season wears on. This week the Ducks will have an opportunity to iron out the kinks against Georgia State before conference play begins at home against Utah on Sept. 26.
Top Photo by Tom Corno
My name is Max Thornberry, and I am a sophomore at the University of Oregon studying journalism. I am from Ventura, CA but fell in love with Oregon when I visited last year and came to the Oregon vs. Cal game. I love sports and my hobbies mainly include fantasy baseball and football as well as playing sports video games. Growing up watching sports center and espn news I always wondered what I had to do in order to get a job where I got to talk sports every day, so when I saw an opportunity to intern for a sports news website (FishDuck.com) I couldn’t wait to get involved.
The Comments Below are CLOSED, as we are moving to the OUR BELOVED DUCKS Forum!
Comments below articles are now closed as we have moved all conversation over to the free Our Beloved Ducks Forum. It has been a big success already with many more posts than what we could fit into the comments below articles.
The Our Beloved Ducks Forum is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there. At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.
Be a part of the forum and stay caught up! When you wish to post there, do know that you are protected just as you were on FishDuck. Join us on the free forum right here!
Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
OBD Forum members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!