#11 Oregon Football 2019 Preview

Oregon Ducks
Overall Rank: #11
#1 Pac-12
 Oregon Logo
Oregon had a very promising debut campaign under Coach Mario Cristobal. The Ducks went 9-4 and finished with a hard-fought 7-6 victory over Michigan State in the RedBox Bowl. There were some bad losses though in Pac-12 play, most on the road and this is a group that needs to buckle down and take care of business away from the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium.
2018 Record: 9-4, 5-4
2018 Bowl: RedBox Bowl vs. Michigan State (W 7-6)
Coach: Mario Cristobal (9-5 at Oregon, 36-52 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Marcus Arroyo
Defensive Coordinator: Andy Avalos
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: CJ Verdell, RB, 1,018 yards
Passing: Justin Herbert, QB, 3,151 yards
Receiving: Jaylon Redd, WR, 433 yards
Tackles: Troy Dye, LB, 115
Sacks: Gus Cumberlander, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: Jevon Holland, S, 5
Other Key Returnees: RB Travis Dye, TE Jacob Breeland, OL Shane Lemieux, OL Calvin Throckmorton, CB Thomas Graham, CB Deommodore Lenoir, S Nick Pickett
Key Losses: WR Dillon Mitchell, DE Jalen Jelks, LB Kaulana Apelu, LB Justin Hollins, S Ugo Amadi
The high expectations are largely due to the return of quarterback Justin Herbert. As a junior Herbert threw for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns, while rushing for a couple more scores. He would have been right in the mix as the top quarterback taken in the 2019 NFL Draft had he opted to go pro, but will instead lead the Ducks for one more season. With some stability in the coaching staff after playing under three head coaches in three seasons, Herbert should be ready for a big senior season. Dillon Mitchell left early for the NFL after catching 75 passes for 1,184 yards and ten touchdowns and the Ducks went out and got Penn State transfer Juwan Johnson to help replace him. Jaylon Redd is the top returning pass catcher with 433 yards and five touchdowns and there are plenty of younger players who are capable of making an impact too. Despite all the hype surrounding Herbert and the passing game, Oregon can run the ball too. CJ Verdell and Travis Dye are both back after combining to rush for 1,757 yards and 14 touchdowns. With the offensive line returning entirely intact, this will be one of the most explosive offenses in the country.
There are a few more holes to fill on defense, but six starters return to the unit that improvement significantly in 2018. Jordon Scott is a very talented nose tackle that will lead the line that also includes pass rushers Austin Faoliu, Gus Cumberlander and much hyped freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux. Linebackers La’Mar Winston and Troy Dye are two of the best in the conference. Dye led the Ducks with 115 tackles. Cornerbacks Thomas Graham and Deommodore Lenoir will return to their starting spots. Graham broke up 18 passes and each intercepted three passes in 2018. Jevon Holland is a big time playmaker too and picked off five passes as a freshman last year. He will step into a starting spot and be joined by safety Nick Pickett, who ranked fourth on the team with 59 tackles.
The Bottom Line:
Oregon should be better across the board. The offense has explosive potential and the defense has plenty of experience in most spots and more talented depth than they enjoyed a season ago. The non-conference slate has a tougher game this year with a season opener against Auburn in Arlington, Texas. Oregon is the favorite to win the Pac-12 North, but their toughest divisional contests come on the road. The Pac-12 opener on September 21st is at Stanford and a few weeks later the Ducks travel to Washington. The conference slate also features tough trips to USC and Arizona State. If the Ducks struggle to win on the road again, the conference title could stay out of reach, but this group has the ability to win every one of those road games.
Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 179.4 (54th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 247.8 (49, 7)
Total Offense: 427.2 (41, 3)
Scoring Offense: 34.8 (25, 2)
Rushing Defense: 144.3 (43, 5)
Pass Defense: 241.6 (82, 8)
Total Defense: 385.9 (55, 6)
Scoring Defense: 25.4 (48, 6)
Turnover Margin: 0.38 (35, 3)
Sacks: 2.23 (57, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 1.69 (35, 4)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#5 Justin Heibert
$20 Calvin Throckmorton
#41 Troy Dye
#62 Jacob Breeland
Madness 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#2 Kayvon Thibodeaux
#41 Mykael Wright
#62 Mase Funa
#68 Jonah Tauanu'u
#85 Lance Wilhoite
#113 Mycah Pittman
#134 Sean Dollars
#163 Ge'Mon Eaford