2012 Oregon Ducks Football Preview
2011 Record: 12-2 (8-1 PAC-12)
Head Coach: Chip Kelly, fourth season (34-6 all at Oregon)
Projected Returning Starters: 13
Spring Game: April 28th (Yellow 41 Green 14)
Notes: Oregon has had four straight double digit win seasons, the past three under Kelly, and the first under Coach Mike Bellotti. Coach Bellotti ended a career that began in 1995, by retiring in 2008, following a 10-3 season. His offensive coordinator, Coach Kelly, was promoted to head coach. Coach Kelly didn’t miss a beat, compiling a 20-1 home record since then, with the lone home loss being to USC by 3 this past season. The Ducks have finished in first place in each of the seasons under Kelly, resulting in two Rose Bowl appearances and one BCS Championship appearance. The Ducks finished fourth in the country last season, winning the Rose Bowl.
BVTSB Take: In 2010, Oregon had to replace Jeremiah Masoli who was kicked off the team by Kelly. Darren Thomas stepped in, and quarterbacked the team to back-to-back PAC-10 (and -12) titles. Thomas elected to declare for the NFL Draft following the completion of last season, but ultimately was undrafted. The battle for the starting job is between sophomore Bryan Bennett and redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota. Mariota looked more impressive in the spring gram, going 18-for-26 with one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 99 yards, 82 of which were on one run. Bennett saw limited time last season, 46 attempts, while Mariota did not play. Running back Kenjon Barner is back to help the quarterback transition. Barner rushed for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, backing up LaMichael James, who was drafted by the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers (he had three 1500+ yard rushing seasons, with at least 14 touchdowns each season while at Oregon). De’Anthony Thomas (595 yards rushing, 605 yards receiving, and 16 total touchdowns) is expected to backup Barner – Thomas should see a fair amount of time. Josh Huff is a returning starter at wide receiver- he had 430 yards receiving last season, coupled with two touchdowns. Devon Blackmon and Rahsaan Vaughn (184 receiving yards and one touchdown in 2011) are expected to start along side Huff. Possibly the biggest loss is TE David Paulson, who was drafted by the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Paulson had 438 yards receiving and six touchdowns in 2011. Colt Lyerla will take over for him. Oregon returns three starters on the offensive line – C Hroniss Grasu, LG Carson York, and RT Nick Cody. Grasu, York, and Cody combined for 41 starts last year. RG Ryan Clanton and RT Jake Fisher will fill out the balance of the line. Both Clanton and Fisher were backups last season. Oregon’s schedule sets up well for another double digit win season. They open with Arkansas State, Fresno State, and Tennessee Tech. Home games against Washington and Stanford could present a bit of a challenge, while the road game against USC could ultimately decide who hosts the PAS-12 Title game.
2012 Early Projection: 11-1
To see the 2012 PAC-12 composite schedule, click here.
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