Photo by Andrew Giesemann
Oregon Football

Spring Football: Top Three Offensive Storylines

March 16, 2017

Let's face it, on the eve of Oregon's debut in March Madness, you are still itching for football. It's getting so close you can smell it. You can literally taste it.

I had to mow my lawn this week for the first time. Many of you are dusting the cobwebs off your smokers and BBQ's.

Spring is in the air.

Which means the return of football.

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Only this time, it's no longer Mark Helfrich's team. You won't see Gary Campbell or Steve Greatwood on the sidelines for the first time in 20+ years. John Neal, Don Pellum, Tom Osborne, the gang is all gone.

But let's take a look at the players. And this offense.

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I've maintained since Mark Helfrich's firing, there is enough firepower on this offense to win eight games. It doesn't mean Oregon will win eight games. But they can.

We all know there is a big mystery at tight end. Can Breeland take the next step? Is McCormick ready? Will someone else fill the void?

Yet, that doesn't make my top three storylines this Spring. Here they are.

Quarterback Battle

Look, by almost all accounts this SHOULD be Justin Herbert's team right? I mean look what he did last year as a true freshman. He made some terrific throws. And he made a few 'freshman reads.'

All in all, he showcased a heck of a lot of potential.

Still, that Terry Wilson kid is going to get every chance to make a move. And in reality, all things being equal, he likely fits what Willie Taggart likes to do with his quarterback just a bit better.

But can he out-perform Justin Herbert? Or does Willie Taggart have his hand forced and have to adjust his offense around Herbert's skill-set?

A big part of Willie Taggart's season is going to be figuring this very question out.

Get ready for a very tight quarterback battle.

Freeman and Carrington

Right, it's pretty surprising that I would list these two on here. But hear me out.

Neither player had the impact most would have expected from them. Injuries, an off-season and well, it was just a long season. Take your pick.

If Royce Freeman is 100-percent healthy there might not be a better back in the country. Plain and simple. This is a guy that can get you 100-yards EVERY week. And Willie Taggart is going to run the ball, run the ball and run the ball some more.

If Freeman is, well, Royce Freeman, than this offense begins with his success.

Why Darren Carrington?

Because like Freeman, when he's right, he's one of the best receivers in the country. He has early round NFL potential. The key word there is potential however.

At some point opposing defenses will stack the box to slow down Royce Freeman.

If Darren Carrington is ready, he'll have every opportunity to take the top off the defense in this Taggart offense. And potentially play himself back into an early-round NFL draft pick.

The Offensive Line

Look, Oreogn needs a good quarterback. And they have stars in Royce Freeman, Darren Carrington and Charles Nelson waiting to explode on offense.

But none of that matters without a good offensive line.

And I daresay, this might be the strongest unit on this entire team. Heck, this might be the best offensive line in the conference.

Is Throckmorton and Hansen ready to take that next step. Is Aiello ready to tap into that unreal potential he has.

Is Tyrell Crosby healthy and can George Moore make an immediate impact?

This team is going to be a run-first offense. And if these guys are consistently opening lanes for Royce Freeman, the rest of this team is going to flourish. It won't matter who is at tight end, the rest of this machine is going to be well-oiled.

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