#3 Oregon Football 2015 Preview

Oregon Ducks

Overall Rank: #3
#1 Pac-12

Oregon Team Page#3 Oregon Football 2015 PreviewBuy Oregon Football Tickets

Oregon reached the national title game last year after cruising through the regular season with a 12-1 record. The Ducks lone loss in the regular season came against Arizona, a team they crushed 51-13 in the Pac-12 title game. In the semifinals of the playoffs, Oregon dropped 59 points on Florida State. But the offense sputtered against the Ohio State defense. Despite some significant departures, this will be one of the most explosive offenses in the nation and whether or not this team can get back to the playoffs will likely come down to defensive improvement.

2014 Record: 13-2, 8-1
2014 Bowl: Rose Bowl vs. Florida State (W59-20)
College Football Playoff Championship Game vs Ohio State (L 20-42)
Coach: Mark Helfrich (24-4 at Oregon, 24-4 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Scott Frost
Defensive Coordinator: Don Pellum

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Royce Freeman, RB, 1,365 yards
Passing: Jeff Lockie, QB, 207 yards
Receiving: Byron Marshall, WR, 1,003 yards
Tackles: Reggie Daniels, S, 83
Sacks: Christian French, LB, 6.5
Interceptions: Tyson Coleman, LB, 1; Reggie Daniels, S, 1; Danny Mattingly, LB, 1

Other Key Returnees: RB Thomas Tyner, WR Darren Carrington, WR Dwayne Stanford, WR Devon Allen, DE DeForest Buckner, LB Joe Walker, LB Rodney Hardrick

Key Losses: QB Marcus Mariota, OL Jake Fisher, OL Hroniss Grasu, DB Erick Dargan, LB Derrick Malone, DB Troy Hill, DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, LB Tony Washington, DE Arik Armstead

Quarterback Marcus Mariota is gone after throwing for 4,454 yards and 42 touchdowns. He also rushed for 770 yards and 15 more scores. And while all those numbers are huge and extremely impressive, it is his interception number that sticks out the most. Mariota threw just four interceptions in 445 pass attempts and half of those interceptions came in the playoffs. In an effort to replace those numbers, Oregon went to one of the few players who can match them. Vernon Adams spent three years with Eastern Washington and last year he threw for 3,483 yards and 35 touchdowns in just ten games. Adams also added six more scores on the ground. Adams is undersized, but he has a big arm and is a proven playmaker. Jeff Lockie, who has been the backup for two years, is a better decision maker though. Adams should get the first crack at being the starter, but if turnovers become an issue against the better defenses Adams will see this year, Lockie will be waiting. Whoever is at quarterback will have a slew of talent to work with. Royce Freeman rushed for 1,365 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and has the talent to take away the spotlight from the quarterback. Thomas Tyner, who rushed for 573 yards, is also back in the mix at running back. Byron Marshall is a superb receiver. He caught 74 passes for 1,003 yards in 2014. Dwayne Stanford is a solid receiver too and Devon Allen should be back after an injury derailed his progress in the fall. Oregon also welcomes back Bralon Addison, who missed all of last season with an injury. In 2013 he caught 61 passes for 890 yards and seven scores.

The front seven has hope this year since they return quite a bit of talent. The most notable talent up front is end DeForest Buckner. He only had 4.0 sacks, but he was almost always disruptive. Senior nose guard Alex Balducci has the potential to control the line of scrimmage. Outside linebackers Tyson Coleman and Christian French will get into the backfield quite a bit too in Oregon’s 3-4 defense. The team as a whole ranked seventh in the Pac-12 in sacks though and it will be up to Buckner, Coleman and French to move that number up a few spots. How aggressive they are allowed to be remains to be seen though. Oregon did not often send a lot of players into the pass rush. And that could be the story again this year since the secondary is so inexperienced. It is easy to say that it is a good idea to blitz more players so the corners do not have to cover some of those great wide receivers in the Pac-12. However, it is a smarter idea to drop more back to give them help. Safeties Reggie Daniels and Tyree Robinson are the most proven players in the secondary. Sophomores Arrion Springs and Chris Seisay will probably be thrown into the fire at cornerback and how well they perform will go a long way in determining just how good this defense will be in 2015.

The Bottom Line:
Oregon has a very interesting early schedule. They host Adams’ former EWU team in week one and then head to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. Trips to Arizona State and Stanford are the toughest conference games and Oregon is the clear favorite to win the Pac-12 North. The Pac-12 South is tougher this year though and the Ducks will almost certainly need to get past USC or UCLA in the conference title game in order to reach the playoffs.

Projected Bowl: Cotton Bowl (Playoffs)

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 234.5 (20th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 312.5 (10, 3)
Total Offense: 547.0 (3, 1)
Scoring Offense: 45.4 (4, 1)
Rushing Defense: 165.4 (60, 10)
Pass Defense: 264.3 (108, 7)
Total Defense: 429.7 (87, 8)
Scoring Defense: 23.6 (30, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.53 (1, 1)
Sacks: 2.47 (38, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.07 (63, 4)

Madness 2016 NFL Draft Rankings:
#22 DeForest Buckner
#29 Tyler Johnstone
#78 Byron Marshall

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#16 Canton Kaumatule
#55 Taj Griffin
#103 Travis Waller
#114 Alex Ofodile
#158 Malik Lovette


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