Yes, the title is a bold claim. I was thinking in December that it could be true for 2022 before the portal transfers into Oregon occurred, and now I am much more convinced. This front seven could be the most talented and deepest group at Oregon ever, and while some defensive groups in the past may have had better starting talent…the total depth of the 2022 group is astounding. I began reflecting on the experience and depth of this 2022 front-seven, and had to ponder it further with my FishDuck Friends.
I know many are shaking their head at “Charles’s over-the-top exaggeration,” especially considering that the new Dan Lanning defense has yet to play a down. I recognize that the second and the third year of the defense will have better execution than this year, but those future years will not have this much experienced talent stacked as it is in 2022. In fact it will be years before Oregon has this much experience in the front seven as we do this coming fall.
Forget the future, as the 2022 Oregon front seven is the best you will see in a very long time.
The Defensive Line is Sneaky?
It is one thing to have stud defensive tackles in Popo Aumavae and Brandon Dorlus returning, but consider how Defensive Line Coach Tony Tuioti killed it in the portal besides. Sam Taimani from Washington is a classic Nose Tackle at 330 pounds, and has the years of experience and 68 tackles to his credit as a transfer. Casey Rogers from Nebraska adds his 42 tackles of experience with his 295 pounds, and we cannot forget the other Cornhusker to join us in Jordon Riley who is 6’6″ and 310 pounds?
Holy Crap! Add Keyon Ware-Hudson and we have six experienced defensive tackles/ends for two positions? Whew! This is now looking like an SEC defensive line rotating fresh, talented players in or utilizing them in situational tactics. Isn’t it interesting that this SEC-type depth arrives shortly after Dan Lanning does? I think VandownbytheriverDuck said it best to me when he asserted, “this defensive line is going to be a sneaky strength for the Ducks.” Agreed, Duck-Brother.
When it comes to outside linebackers/defensive ends who are also pass-rushing specialists–it is hard to beat the combination of DJ Johnson and Bradyn Swinson spelled by Mase Funa for major minutes. There are more young-guns in reserve at this position, but when I consider the experience these three have had in big games of the Ducks recently? It will be a long time before this much talent is flanking the defensive tackles again as it is in 2022.
Oregon’s Linebackers: Bring the Popcorn!
While many believe that if DJ Johnson has an outstanding year–he could be a first round NFL Draft choice, a second Duck, Noah Sewell is a candidate to be another Oregon first-rounder from the defense. Two potential first round draft picks on defense? When has that happened at Oregon before? Sewell has become better at pass coverage, and what I did not anticipate was how effective a pass-rusher he was last year. I forgot how Justin Flowe had an incredible 14 tackles in his first and only full game at Oregon, and if he is healthy? I cannot imagine the inside blitzes we will see!
While undersized, I was amazed at the pursuit speed of Jeffrey Bassa last year, and I like very much the upside of Jackson LaDuke and Keith Brown. But the bottom line is that the talent and experience at inside linebacker is also rare, and will be a treat to watch. The combination of the talent and the new tactics of a Lanning defense will make this front seven on defense the most entertaining in years at Oregon.
You may call it hyperbole, but I feel that 2022 version is the front seven to watch, and could very well be the surprise unit of the entire conference. Have I had too many tasty Oregon Craft Beer IPAs? Let me know at the Our Beloved Ducks forum because…
“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
Top Photo by Tom Corno
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…
FishDuck Going to Articles on Monday and Tuesday Only…
Our off-season schedule begins, and we move from publishing articles seven days a week to Mondays and Tuesdays only. Same great group of writers, and we will have an article on other days on occasion.
The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) 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.
Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
OBD Forum members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!