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2017 Fierce 40 Previews: #27 Oregon

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 21, 2017

#27 Oregon Ducks

2016 Recap:
A very pedestrian season as Oregon suffered their first losing season since 2004 and their 4-8 record was their worst since 1991. Oregon gave up an average...yes an average of 518.4 YPG...dead last at the FBS level.


Coaching:
Willie Taggert comes aboard to lead the Ducks after successful stints at midlevel powerhouses Western Kentucky and South Florida. Offensive coordinators Mario Cristobal and Marcus Arroyo come in from Alabama and Oklahoma State. Defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt was a vast amount of defenisve experience and was a head coach at the NCAA level for 14 years.


Offense

Justin Herbert took over the quarterback job at the midway point of the season and took his lumps.Herbert has the makings of a future star and played respectable football but the defense had the Ducks at a severe disadvantage. Royce Freeman is how this offense goes for this season and his play will dictate the Ducks success. The key for Oregon is keeping Freeman healthy, something that has been a challenge for the 230 pound back in each of the last two seasons. The Ducks can do that with an improved offensive line. The line boasts future NFL talent in the likes of Calvin Throckmorton and Tyrell Crosby who returns from injury. Charles Nelson will be the most dangerous wideout threat now that Darren Carrington III has been dismissed from the team.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Royce Freeman RB 2nd Round 2018.

                                       Calvin Throckmorton OT 3rd Round 2020.


Defense

 The one thing we can say about the Oregon defense is that it will get better than last year....then again how could they get any worse? The positive here is that some young talent shown through and emerged in the form of middle linebacker Troy Dye and cornerback Thomas Graham looks like he will start as a freshman. Scott Pagano comes over as a graduate transfer at nose tackle after winning a National Championship with Clemson. Pairing Pagano up with end Henry Mondeaux should allow teams from double too often on either defender. If anything, Oregon has more depth when a thin defense to start the season was decimated with injuries and the results were catastrophic.

Best Draft Prospects: Troy Dye ILB 2nd Round 2020.                

                                       Scott Pagano DT 3rd Round 2018.


Special Teams:

You can argue the most consistent player on Oregon last season was kicker Adam Schneider who has NFL potential and aspirations. The punter job is up in the air at the moment though Blake Maimone seems to have the inside track. Charles Nelson looks like he will fill both return roles after the departure of Darren Carrington III.


Schedule:

Oregon gets Nebraska at home and faces Wyoming on the road before starting the Pac-12 grind. Stanford, UCLA and Washington are three road games in a four week stretch during the middle of the year, easily the toughest part of the Ducks schedule. Oregon does manage to avoid USC and will have rival Oregon State at home to finish the season.


Draft and Overall Outlook:

The individual talent will never stop at Oregon with the recruiting services and money being pumped into the University. It will be interesting to see how Taggert does at a big school and conference in the Pac-12. Taggert was an excellent quarterback in his day and seems to have the mentality to get Oregon back to a level of respectability within the conference and on the national stage.

 

DJ Boyer