The Oregon offense has always been a talking point in the college football landscape. But that hasn't been the case in recent years, with the defense often being what the Ducks can hang their hat on, dominating the trenches and bringing in crazy talents like Kayvon Thibodeaux and Noah Sewell.
Joe Moorhead's offense was like a breath of fresh air after the 2019 offense left much to be desired. These players need to have a big spring in order for the Ducks to become a top tier Pac-12 offense.
1. Anthony Brown/quarterbacks
This goes without saying, but the staff needs a solid showing out of its quarterback group. Anthony Brown may well be the favorite to win the job, but he's going to have players pushing him along the way and fighting for the title of QB1.
This will be our first look at Ty Thompson in green and yellow competing against elite athletes. Arizona has started to pump out a lot of major college football talent, but now the Gilbert (Ariz.) native will be competing against Division one talent every day and the game will speed up significantly. Maybe he adjusts no problem, but more than likely there will be a learning curve.
Jay Butterfield, an early enrollee in the 2020 class, is the most experienced quarterback on the roster aside from Brown. With him comes a natural throwing motion and an ideal 6-foot-6, 212-pound frame to stand tall in the pocket. We haven't seen much of Robby Ashford, but he's another incredible athlete on this roster, who's also making a name for himself as an outfielder on the baseball team.
2. Sean Dollars/RB3
The team knows what they have in starting running back tandem CJ Verdell and Travis Dye: one of the most experienced and explosive backfields in the Pac-12. Dye was the most explosive player on the team last season and Verdell was banged up for much of the year. The question now becomes: what does the offense have after them?
Enter redshirt freshman Sean Dollars, who looked solid in limited action last season and could be the top candidate to claim the snaps freed up by the transfer of Cyrus Habibi-Likio. The talent doesn't end with Dollars, as bruiser Trey Benson has been developing after coming to Eugene with raw talent and 4.4 speed. His 6-foot-1, 211-pound build is the largest of any back on the roster.
2021 signee Byron Cardwell is not expected in Eugene until the summer months.
3. Mycah Pittman
Pittman played in five of seven games last year and didn't put together a stat line that will blow you away (8 rec, 123 yards). He did however show flashes of potential, notably his diving grab against Stanford and his Fiesta Bowl performance, catching a touchdown that got called off due to a holding call.
Many people think Devon Williams is the most athletically gifted receiver on the roster, and that may be true. But the future of the position starts with Pittman, who can make some big plays after the catch, an important characteristic of an explosive offense, and something Oregon has been severely lacking.
2019's No. 15 wideout could be something special for the Ducks if he's able to stay healthy this season.
4. DJ Johnson
Johnson looked nothing like a defensive end last season--making the transition to a new position and being featured prominently by Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead. He was a go-to option in the read option game and is a nightmare to tackle in open space.
Just get this guy the ball and watch him go to work. He's a major mismatch for any defense, able to plow through defensive backs and blow by members of the front seven. Johnson has great speed and superior athleticism to accompany his 6-foot-5 258-pound build.
Will he be able to solidify himself as the go-to starter with Hunter Kampmoyer declaring for the NFL draft?
5. Alex Forsyth
Maybe not a player you expected to see on the list, but as the leader of the offensive line, Forsyth needs to have solid spring. Whoever he's snapping to against Fresno State at the start of the year--the two will need to have a solid chemistry to make the offense hum.
He had some issues with consistent snaps at certain times last season and will be instrumental in the line functioning as a solid overall unit. When things go wrong and the Ducks are facing elite pass rushers like Washington's Zion Tupuola-Fetui, the offensive line will look to Forsyth for leadership and guidance.
The offensive line was good but not great last season and should look much more polished after a season together and what we're hoping is a more normal offseason.
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