My friends, I sometimes get guest articles where they look at Oregon football from a distant perspective, and today we have one from Eastern Europe. Normally I would not publish it, as I already have one international entity quite displeased with me at the moment, yet the total package of this particular article got me to thinking. While most of what is written below is obvious stuff to the astute Oregon fans here–after reading it I had an overwhelming gut feeling that I am not truly adding up all the “pluses” we have going into this year.
Things look better when outside eyes view it, and although there is some stilted language and interesting phraseology … see if you don’t come away with a better appreciation of Our Beloved Ducks. Offer your thoughts in the comments! Charles Fischer
There are a number of reasons to be excited as an Oregon Ducks fan for the upcoming Pac-12 Conference title this season.
Of course, the Ducks managed to defeat the USC Trojans 31-24 in the 2020 edition of the Pac-12 Conference Championship, despite not initially having qualified for the game. Mario Cristobal‘s team had finished second in the North Division, however because Washington was unable to field the required number of players for the game, the Ducks got their chance to retain their championship and took it with both hands.
Once again, the 2021 Pac-12 Championship will offer Oregon another chance of extending their reign as champions, with many betting sites having already placed them amongst the favorites to repeat their success, with the Washington Huskies also favored at sportsbooks such as Unibet.
With the season not scheduled to get underway until September, now would be a great time to check out why the Ducks are, once again, considered to be one of the favorites to win the conference.
Offense Provides PLENTY of Weapons
Although quarterback, Tyler Shough, has decided to leave the college program for a place at Texas Tech, the Ducks can feel they have a suitable replacement in Anthony Brown to help lead them to the Pac-12 title. A graduate transfer, Brown was just as productive as Shough in their two mutual postseason appearances. Oregon also had Ty Thompson enroll in the winter; a five-star freshman in which there is plenty of excitement over, although following in the footsteps of Justin Herbert could be a rather challenging and daunting proposition.
The Ducks also received a major boost when three of their key offensive weapons decided against going into the 2021 NFL Draft, with running back CJ Verdell and wide receivers Johnny Johnson III and Jaylon Redd all making a return to Oregon for the upcoming Championships.
Indeed, the fact that the Ducks have so many experienced players coming back into the fold will mean that they can position themselves in a perfect way, and one where everyone already knows the playbook. There is no denying that Penei Sewell‘s departure via the 2021 NFL Draft will hurt the offensive line, most Duck fans expected that to happen as he went in the first round with Detroit Lions taking him as the seventh overall pick.
Ducks’ Defense has Potential Despite 2021 NFL Draft Seeing Key Names Depart
When taking a look at the Ducks’ overall program, it is clear that a number of NFL franchises were interested in what Oregon were able to produce defensively. Safeties Jevon Holland and Brady Breeze were drafted, as were cornerbacks Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr. to complete an entire defensive backfield being drafted for the first time in Oregon’s long history.
However, whilst the Ducks may feel depleted, there are still some top players available on this side of the ball that will make them a force in the upcoming Pac-12 Championships. Edge-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux shone in his sophomore year for the organization and was voted the Pac-12’s best defensive linemen, (by the conference’s offensive linemen) whilst inside linebacker, Noah Sewell, was named the conference’s best freshman on defense after tying the top spot in the team with 45 tackles.
Furthermore, cornerback Mykael Wright was arguably one of the best defensive standouts last season, whilst defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus, outside linebacker Mase Funa and linebacker Justin Flowe all have the potential to be among the next crop of best defensive players within the conference.
Dangerous Special Team Players Returning as Well
Henry Katleman has become a favorite with fans at the Oregon Ducks, despite having only recently entered the fray. He made all four of his field-goal attempts including a 47-yarder even though the team had a poor showing against the Iowa State Cyclones in the Fiesta Bowl.
For field positioning, an experienced and dangerous weapon will return in punter Tom Snee, in addition to Mykael Wright on kick-off returns.
The Oregon Ducks are stacked in terms of talent on both sides of the ball, (and on special teams) which is why they are considered to be a favorite amongst many to win the Pac-12 Conference title this season. Of course with two of the best coordinators in the nation, (OC Joe Moorhead and DC Tim DeRuyter) and a supreme motivator in Coach Cristobal–there is no reason as to why they cannot go the distance!
Iancu Jianu, Olt, Romania
Top Photo by UO Athletics
Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks, a season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium for 35 years and has written reports on football boards for over 23 years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, have a daughter Christine, reside in Eugene Oregon, where he was a Financial Advisor for 36 years and now focuses full-time on Charitable Planned Giving Workshops for churches and non-profit organizations.
He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More…
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