#5 Oregon Football 2012 Preview


Oregon Ducks

Overall Rank: #5
#1 Pac-12
Oregon Logo


Chip Kelly’s Ducks are not your grandfather’s Oregon Ducks.  He has a unique offense that emphasizes running and scoring and repeating that process many times over.  He had a stud running back in LaMichael James in 2011 and an efficient quarterback in Derron Thomas.  Those two led the Ducks to a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin in January.  Both have moved on, so Kelly will have to find viable replacements.  There is talent on this roster, and Kelly feels like if he has the athletes then he can plug anyone in.  The conference has gotten better, so 2012 will be an even greater test for the Ducks.  They have answered every challenge thrown at them in recent seasons. 

2011 Record: (12-2)
2011 Bowl:  Rose Bowl vs Wisconsin (W 45-38)
Coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive Coordinator: Mark Helfrich
Defensive Coordinator:  Nick Aliotti
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Kenjon Barner, RB, 939 yards
Passing: Bryan Bennett, QB, 369 yards
Receiving: De’Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, 605 yards
Tackles: John Boyett, FS, 108
Sacks: Dion Jordan, DE, 7.5
Interceptions: Four tied at 2
Other Key Returnees: LB Michael Clay, WR Josh Huff, P Jackson Rice, K Alejandro Maldonado
Key Losses: QB Derron Thomas, RB LaMichael James, DB Eddie Pleasant, TE David Paulson, DE Terrell Turner
The national belief is that Oregon is an offensive juggernaut.  Make no mistake, they are.  However, they were not so bad on defense either.  They applied more pressure than all but four teams in the country last season.  They averaged over three sacks per game.  They were also third in the Pac-12 at tackling runners in the backfield.  The offense is still where Oregon’s bread is buttered.  The Ducks led the conference in rushing, total offense, and scoring; three categories that add up to a lot of wins.  Since Chip Kelly has been in Eugene, the offensive pace has been off the charts.  Fast running backs and athletic quarterbacks fuel the quickest option offense in the country.  Despite losing LaMichael James, the system should accommodate a top-notch running game.
The passing game has taken a backseat in Chip Kelly’s tenure.  They rank 10th in the conference in passing at 223 yards per game.  Derron Thomas was an effective quarterback, but he was not the best thrower.  Bryan Bennett looks to be his replacement.  He is athletic and will run, but he has more pocket-passer ability as well.  Despite the good things the front seven of the defense did in 2011, the secondary will have to improve its performance this coming season.  They gave up nearly 250 yards per game.  In order to stop the USCs and Arizonas of the world, being better in the back end is a necessity.
The Bottom Line:
Oregon is a preseason top 5 team in almost every poll.  After narrowly missing out on their second straight national title game, the Ducks seem primed for another 10 to 11 win season.  At the very least, they should be in great position for a Rose Bowl bid.  Matt Barkley and USC stand in their way, and it will be difficult for the Ducks to overcome the talent in L.A.  They lose a lot of talent themselves in James and Thomas, but they have a real playmaker in WR/KR De’Anthony Thomas.  He is electric with the ball in his hands.  Oregon has become a shoe-in for a great season year in and year out.  2012 should be another great success for Kelly and his team.
Projected Bowl:  Rose Bowl
2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 299.21 (5th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense:  223.57 (68, 10)
Total Offense: 522.79 (4, 1)
Scoring Offense: 46.07 (3, 1)
Rushing Defense: 142.79 (54, 5)
Pass Defense: 247.29 (88, 5)
Total Defense: 390.07 (67, 5)
Scoring Defense: 24.64 (52, 5)
Turnover Margin: .64 (22, 3)
Sacks: 3.21 (5, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (15, 3)
Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings
#61 Dion Jordan
Madness 2012 Recruit Rankings
#17 Arik Armstead
#87 Bralon Addison
#107 Byron Marshall
#178 Alex Balducci
#204 Pharaoh Brown
#211 Dwayne Stanford
#212 Jake Rodrigues