#3 Oregon Football 2013 Preview

Oregon Ducks

Overall Rank: #3
#1 Pac-12

Oregon Team Page#3 Oregon Football 2013 PreviewBuy Oregon Football Tickets

Chip Kelly’s somewhat surprising departure after the Fiesta Bowl last season left some people wondering where this team would head in the future.  When Kelly was promoted to head coach four years ago, he was already a member of the Oregon coaching staff.  The Ducks went with the same philosophy this time around, promoting offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.  That is probably a good decision.  He, along with Kelly, led one of the most unique and innovative offenses over the last four seasons.  The question is can the Ducks sustain the same success without Kelly on the sideline?  They return some electric players.  That should ease Helfrich’s transition.

2012 Record: 12-1, 8-1
2012 Bowl: Fiesta Bowl vs Kansas State (W 35-17)
Coach: Mark Helfrich (0-0 at Oregon, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Scott Frost
Defensive Coordinator: Nick Aliotti

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Marcus Mariota, QB, 752 yards
Passing: Marcus Mariota, QB, 2,677 yards
Receiving: Josh Huff, WR, 493 yards
Tackles: Brian Jackson, DB, 69
Sacks: Taylor Hart, DL, 8.0
Interceptions: Erick Dargan, S, 5

Other Key Returnees: WR/RB D’Anthony Thomas, TE Colt Lyerla, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Key Losses: DL Dion Jordan, RB Kenjon Barner, LB Kiko Alonso, OL Kyle Long

For years Oregon’s offensive speed has been a problem for defenses.  It is hard to see them abandoning that strategy.  The fast paced offense facilitated the third best rushing attack in the country.  Lead running back Kenjon Barner is gone, but Marcus Mariota is looking to take a big leap in his sophomore season.  He was outstanding last year, especially grasping a tough offense.  He threw 32 touchdowns in addition to his rushing totals.  The Ducks also return the extremely versatile D’Anthony Thomas who will most likely play a number of positions for them, including running back.  Oregon was so adept at running people down that defenses were exhausted by the fourth quarter.  They were able to deliver the knock-out blows late in games last year.  It is most likely why they were able to score nearly 50 points per game (second best mark in the country).  Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Oregon offense is the fact that they rarely turned the ball over.  They led the nation in turnover margin.  This team certainly has the talent to retain these gaudy stats going into 2013.  They should not look all that different from last year’s offense.

The Ducks were not terrible on defense, but that was certainly the area they need to improve the most.  They were okay at getting to the quarterback – they averaged over two sacks per game – but in terms of the Pac-12 they were in the lower quarter of the conference.  Quarterbacks seemed to be able to navigate the pass rush last year and extend drives.  Locking that up this year will make the Ducks that much more formidable.  By the numbers, they only threw for 222 yards per game, but that is a little misleading.  This is a running football team, so passing is not the emphasis.  Still with a tight end like Colt Lyerla and playmakers like Thomas, Mariota might benefit from airing it out a bit more this season.  In recent years they have had issues on special teams.  Generally, they score so much that a field goal kicker is not entirely necessary.  But when it comes down to the end of the game and they need a long kick, their guy has not always had the best numbers.  Rob Beard only made four field goals last year (the team made a total of seven).  Beard has moved on so it looks like it is up to Alejandro Maldonado to step up in the big moments.

The Bottom Line:
There are a few questions about the Ducks this year, but most people still think they are going to be a really good team.  The coaching hire within the “family” was a pretty good indication that not much is going to change after Kelly’s departure for the NFL.  Helfrich is clearly a capable offensive mind and play caller and the players are familiar with him.  Mariota should take a huge jump forward in his second year, and Thomas is an electric player who is good for a handful of highlights every year.  There are some tough losses on defense, including 3rd overall pick in the NFL draft, Dion Jordan.  But Nick Aliotti is entering his 21st year as defensive coordinator for Oregon.  He is doing something right, and he will get these boys to play well.  Anything other than a Pac-12 championship would be a disappointment.

Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 315.33 (3rd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 222.15 (72, 7)
Total Offense: 537.38 (5, 1)
Scoring Offense: 49.54 (2, 1)
Rushing Defense: 144.92 (44, 4)
Pass Defense: 229.23 (56, 5)
Total Defense: 374.15 (44, 6)
Scoring Defense: 21.62 (25, 3)
Turnover Margin: 1.62 (1, 1)
Sacks: 2.15 (50, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 1.46 (35, 4)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#24 Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
#39 De'Anthony Thomas
#61 Colt Lyerla
#109 Terrance Mitchell

Madness 2013 Football Recruit Rankings:
#27 Thomas Tyner
#119 Tyrell Robinson
#123 Tyree Robinson
#215 Evan Voeller
#238 Cameron Hunt


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