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No Mariota, No Problem: Oregon Ducks Season Preview

Monday, June 22, 2015

 

With Marcus Mariota officially with the Tennessee Titans, many Duck fans are beginning to grow anxious about this upcoming season. Any time you lose the reigning Heisman winner who led your team to the National Championship there will almost always be an adjustment period. 

Luckily, the Ducks will be just fine moving forward. 

Although their starting quarterback has moved on to the NFL, the Ducks still have a multitude of gifted athletes on offense who are have shown the ability to pick up the slack. 

Royce Freeman, Thomas Tyner, Byron Marshall, Devon Allen, Dwayne Stanford, Darren Carrington, Charles Nelson and Bralon Addison are all impact players who will be returning this season.  

As far as the running back core goes, they will be solid for the foreseeable future. Royce Freeman had a breakout season as a true freshman. He’s the first freshman in school history to record a 1,000-yard season. He also led the Pac-12 in touchdowns. There are even some rumblings about Freeman potentially becoming a Heisman candidate in the near future. Backup, Thomas Tyner, has also shown flashes of brilliance when healthy. During the 2014 Rose Bowl Tyner picked up 124 yards against Florida State’s defense. 

When it comes to receivers the Ducks may have one of the best groups in the country. Not only are they deep, but also talented. Last spring starting wide receiver, Devon Allen, won the NCAA and U.S. outdoor national titles at 110 meters. His effort helped Oregon clinch their first track and field outdoor title since 1984. This speed translated onto the football field where he was consistantly able to get past opposing team's defensive backs. Dwayne Stanford and Darren Carrington are both big receivers (over 6 feet tall) who had over 600 receiving yards last season. The only starter who graduated was Keanon Lowe. Fortunately for the Ducks they have Bralon Addison ready and willing to take over where Lowe left off. Last year Addison sat out the entire 2014-2015 season with a torn ACL. During the 2013-2014 season Addison recorded 61 catches for 890 yards. With a receiving core that includes speed, height and toughness it’ll put less pressure on the quarterback.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Oregon is currently searching for their new starter. As of now it sounds like it will be either Jeff Lockie or Vernon Adams. Both of these quarterbacks have distinct advantages heading into summer training camp. Lockie has been Mariota’s understudy for the past few seasons and undoubtedly understands Oregon’s offense more than Adams currently does. He has also been getting in more practice time with Oregon’s first team offense since Adams can’t participate in practice for a few more weeks. On the other side, Adams is a far more gifted athlete than Lockie and has experienced far more individual success as well. While at Eastern Washington University Adams was 28-6 as a starter. He also had 3,483 passing yards to along with 35 touchdowns during the 2014-2015 season. 

The Ducks can't go wrong with either quarterback.

Although the Ducks have several questions to answer this offseason, there’s no doubt they will find ways to be successful this upcoming season. Remember when many doubted the decision to start a freshman that goes by the name of Marcus Mariota a few seasons back? The coaching staff has a knack for finding ways to get the most out of their players. This upcoming season will be no different.  

 

Related Slideshow: Oregon’s Most Devastating Sports Injuries

Here is GoLocalPDX's list of Oregon's most devastating injuries that have occured within the past 10 years.

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Greg Oden

Sept. 2007 — Micro fracture surgery on right knee

Dec. 2009 — Fractured left patella 

Nov. 2010 — Micro fracture surgery on left knee

Dec. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on right knee

Unfortunately, Trail Blazer fans everywhere already know how drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant worked out for their team. After being be the #1 selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Oden was never able to play a full season due to ongoing knee injuries. The team eventually waived him in March of 2012.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Dennis Dixon

Nov. 2007 — Torn left ACL

During the 2007 season Dixon had the Oregon Ducks as the #2 team in the country. That was until he suffered a torn ACL against Arizona State and attempted to play on it the following week against Arizona. After Dixon went down for the season the Ducks lost their remaining two regular season games. Fortunately, they were able to end their season on a high note with a victory over South Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Brandon Roy

Sept. 2008 — Cartilage removed from left knee

April 2010 — Meniscus tear in right knee

Jan. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on both knees

Brandon Roy is perhaps one of the most beloved Trail Blazers in the history of the franchise. After being drafted in 2006, and leading the team out of the "Jail-Blazer" era, he had to make the tough decision to retire at the young age of 28. His degenerative knees prevented Rip City from seeing their superstar ever play to his full potential.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Jacquizz Rodgers

Nov. 2008 — Grade II separation of the acromioclavicular joint

During the second to last game in 2008 Jacquizz Rodgers suffered a separated shoulder that ended his season. Unfortunately, this meant that he wasn't able to play in the Civil War, which was perhaps the biggest game of the year for the Beavers. If the Beavers had been able to defeat the Ducks they would've been able to book their tickets to play in the Rose Bowl. Instead, they went to the Sun Bowl where they defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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James Rodgers

Oct. 2009 — Torn left ACL

After participating in only 4 games during the 2009 season Rodgers went down with a torn ACL while playing against #9 Arizona. This couldn't have come at a worse time for Rodgers considering he was expected to have a breakout season. Rodgers, who was a senior at the time, was able to end his career at Oregon State as the career leader in all-purpose yards.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Joel Pryzbilla

Dec. 2009 — Ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella

In December of 2009 the Trail Blazers' backup center, Joel Pryzbilla, was lost for the season with a ruptured and dislocated patella. This was a huge blow to the Trailblazers' frontcourt because they had already lost Oden for the season a few weeks before. Pryzbilla was also the team's defensive anchor who provided an inside presence. "The Vanilla Gorilla" was sorely missed for the rest of the year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropepd)
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LaMichael James

Oct. 2011 — Dislocated right elbow

The 2011 season couldn't have started any better for LaMichael James. After the first game James became Oregon's career rushing leader, surpassing Derek Loville. During the second game he rushed for over 200 yards against Missouri State. Unfortunately, James' year was slowed by a dislocated elbow suffered against Cal. Luckily for Duck fans he was able to return to end the season.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
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Nate Costa

Nov. 2010 —Torn Right ACL

After suffering a multitude of knee injuries throughout his career at Oregon Costa was forced to officially retire from football after tearing his ACL for the third time in agame against Washington. Although Costa's career was hobbled by injuries many of his teammates looked to him as their leader. Oregon's coaching staff referred to Costa as the "heart and soul" of the 2010 team that won the Rose Bowl.

Photo via Addictedtoquack (image cropped)
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Sean Mannion

Oct. 2012 — Torn Left Meniscus

During the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Sean Mannion was enjoying one of his best as a Beaver. Unfortunately, he tore his left meniscus against Washington State that resulted in him missing around half the season. With Mannion leading the way the Beavers had the Pac-12's fourth rated offense, averaging 459.5 yeards per game. With Mannion sidelined Cody Vaz became the starting quarterback

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Marcus Mariota

Oct. 2013 — Partial MCL Tear

Marcus Mariota is widely regarded as one of the greatest Oregon Duck quarterbacks to ever play at Autzen. Unfortunately a knee injury hobbled his sophomore season. After Mariota suffered a partial MCL tear against UCLA he conintued to play the remainder of the season. With Mariota's knee not allowing him to be as mobile as he was accustomed to teams were able to take advantage. In the weeks following the injury the Ducks suffered losses to Stanford and Arizona. Duck fans everywhere would like to know what that season woud've loked like if Mariota had stayed healthy.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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CJ McCollum

Oct. 2013 — Broken fifth Metatarsal In Left Foot

After being taken 10th overall during the 2013 NBA Draft the shooting guard out of Lehigh wasn't able to start his career the way many had hoped. After breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot the rookie wasn't able to take the court until January of 2014. Before the injury McCollum was in consideration for playing time behind Lillard. 

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Alex Morgan

Oct. 2013 — Stress reaction in talus bone

During the 2013 season Morgan suffered an injury that doctors misdiagnosed as a mildly sprained ankle. After a few additional tests were performed it turned out that Morgan had suffered a far more serious injury. She actually suffered a stress reaction in the talus bone that put her immediate future with Team USA in question. After rehabbing for 7 months Morgan was able to make a full recovery.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Bralon Addison

April 2014 — Torn left ACL

After exceeding expectations as a freshman and sophomore at the University of Oregon Addison was expecting big things from his junior year. Unfortunately, Addison suffered a torn ACL during last year's spring practice that kept him sidelined the entire year. Without Addison in the lineup the receiving core never lived up to their full potential. If he had been able to play this season the National Championship may have wielded a different outcome.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Dec. 2014 — Torn ACL

In preparation for the first ever college football playoffs Ekpre-Olomu ended up tearing his ACL during a routine practice. This was a huge blow to the Ducks considering Ekpre-Olomu was one of the team's better defenders. He was also one of the best corners in the country who many analysists expected to be selected as high as the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
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Wesley Matthews

March 2015 — Torn left achilles

Just 2 months before Matthews suffered a torn achilles he had become the Trailblazers' all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. It looked as though the Trailblazers were poised to make a deep playoff run. Things took a drastic turn when Matthews was lost for the season. With the team in a 0-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies it doesn't look as though they will be making it to the second round of the playoffs this year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
 
 

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