Year in and year out the Oregon Ducks begin each season with championship aspirations only to have their title hopes slip through their grasps. The Ducks offense begin each season at a record breaking pace, but they are apparently done in by their own fast pace. Although Pac 12 Championships and BCS bowl appearances may make them the envy of many, those accomplishments have left many in Eugene, Oregon yearning for more. Despite falling short yet again National Championship aspirations were renewed when All American quarterback Marcus Mariota and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu said no to the NFL and yes to the Ducks.
Before sputtering to the finish each Saturday had become a Mariota showcase filled with one jaw dropping play after the other. Each night his talents left NFL scouts salivating as he ran past helpless defenders and made them pay with his arm when they dared him. Although more highlights are certain, after suffering a mild MCL sprain Mariota will wisely slide more and rely on his legs less. Mariota’s reduced load will lead to more carries for the best running back duo in the nation in Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner. The Ducks may boast the best backfield in the country but they alone will not punch their ticket to the Inaugural College Football Playoffs. Pass catchers must be found and fast to replace Addison who was lost for the season due to injuries. Dwayne Stanford has the size, Keanon Lowe has the hands, and Chance Allen has the world class speed although unproven one thing is certain, the talent is there.
Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti has been the face of the Ducks defense for decades but a new era begins in 2014. The cupboard is far from bare, the defensive line may be the envy of every team out west. Lead by Arik Armstead they have the size the depth to do great things but they must first show that they are tough enough. Despite several losses in the secondary has the potential to be special led by first round lock Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
History suggest that scoring will not be a problem but can Mariota shake Ducks qb injury curse, Dennis Dixon were not so fortunate. In the wild wild west the Ducks defense must be more than just fast, in the drenches they trust. Led by Coach Mark Helfrich the Ducks have the talent but can they be consistent. Will the Ducks fly high on their Road2Arlington or sputter to the end as they have done so many times before? Stay tuned…I know I will.
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Subscribe to podcast