Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What Oregon's Spring Game Showed

Darron Thomas will look to take on more
of a leadership role this upcoming season.
In the Oregon Ducks spring game a few things became apparent that coach Kelly needs to figure out.  First it was clear that the Oregon Ducks will have some fresh faces at the wide receiver position this up coming up season because of the departure of Maehl and Davis' departure.  This will be a very raw and inexperienced group that will be led by Tuinei, the only senior in the group.  Josh Huff, who has been injured during most of spring practice, will be the field stretcher for Darron Thomas and looks to be on the verge of having a huge season and breaking out on the national scene. Besides these two receivers the group gets a bit foggy.

Vaughn could be the new comer who makes
an early impact for the Ducks in 2011.
So far this spring Nick Cole has had a coming out party, and multiple coaches have praised his incredible improvement.  One coach said he could be the surprise of the year.  Blake Stanton, a red shirt freshmen, has started to become a consistent pass catcher and Justin Hoffman is also proving himself as the spring moves forward.  There is also the foursome of highly touted freshmen that will be arriving next season.  Tacoi Sumler, B.J. Kelley, Rashaan Vaughn and Devon Blackmon are all speedsters who have track like speed.  Sumler is the fastest of the bunch recording a blazing 4.24 forty yard dash.  Vaughn seems to have the best  shot of seeing the field next season, as Chip Kelly has called him possibly the best junior college  wide out in the nation.

Colt Lyerla had a big game, repeatedly catching balls in traffic on route to 9 catches and 37 yards.  Lyerla looks like he will play the h-back position, and it is hard to believe he was in high school only a few months ago. David Paulson also had a good showing, making a few nice runs after the catch.  If the wide receivers are a little slow out of the gate, it looks like these two could help out Thomas out a lot.

Forde surprised and impressed coaches at the spring game.
Kelly will have to decide who will be the 3rd back behind the Heisman candidate James and his star back up Barner.  Lache Seastrunk, Oregon's 2010 star recruit, had his share of struggles while competing for the third string position and was out played by fellow redshirt freshman Ayele Forde.  I expect Seastrunk to fill the position when all is said and done, but it is good to know that the backfield is secure for many seasons to come with Seastrunk, Forde, and newcomer De'Anthony Thomas.

The offensive line also needs to work on their consistency. Thankfully, there is still a whole summer ahead for Chip Kelly to work this group into shape.  They did however look very good on LaMichael Jame's 67 yard touchdown run.  Overall, the offense looked alright, but the defense took the show.

Dion Jordan looks like he is
ready to become the next defensive
star for the Ducks.
On the defensive side there were a lot of positives and not many negatives.  Two young corners had interceptions, Terrence Mitchell and Erick Dargan.  The young defensive line also looked very capable of becoming play makers.  Cliff Harris and John Boyett are the two stars of the secondary while the front seven is still up for grabs.  Dion Jordan is a physical beast who looks to be on the rise.  Kelly will have to do some work replacing Kiko Alonso after his arrest late Saturday night.  Overall this group looked like it will be stronger than last year.  

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