Oregon Football

The Good, The Bad, The Unknown

June 13, 2018

What a turnaround at Oregon. For the first time since I can remember the defensive line has depth and talent.

Perhaps a tad bit young outside of Jalen Jelks, it doesn't lack experience.

Jim Leavitt and Joe Salave'a have done wonders turning around Oregon's worst unit into one of its strongest in just two short years. 

Now that we have taken a look at the offensive side of the ball, we start with the defensive groups and up first is the defensive line.


The Good: Best unit Oregon has had in years

Oregon’s defensive line has made drastic improvements since the 2016 season, when it allowed 246.5 rushing yards per game. Defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt was able to bring that number down to 128.5 yards last season. The best part is that the only major player leaving is Henry Mondeaux, and the unit has a bunch of contributors from the 2017 rotation ready to step up and fill his DE spot, including Austin Faoliu and Gary Baker. I am really excited to see what this unit, led by Jalen Jelks and Jordon Scott, can accomplish this year. The way it is looking right now, Oregon has one of the best units in the conference – and possibly the country.

The Bad: No Henry Mondeaux

Mondeaux was a big reason for Oregon’s defensive line was as successful as it was last year. He finished the season with 45 tackles and 5 sacks while also providing leadership and consistency. Jelks is now the lone senior on the line, but that doesn’t concern me because the younger guys on the unit have solid in-game experience. Right now, it looks like Austin Faoliu, the true sophomore, is going to replace Mondeaux in the starting lineup.

The Unknown: Replacing Mondeaux

As I mentioned above, I believe that Faoliu has the best chance of taking Mondeaux's place. Replacing Mondeaux’s production isn’t going to be easy, though. Faoliu started last season at the nose until he was replaced by Jordon Scott; he still had a fairly impressive season as a rotation player, finishing with 22 tackles and a sack. Another possible Mondeaux replacement is Gary Baker, a junior who like Faoliu put up solid stats as a rotation player. During spring practices these two went back and forth, putting up impressive performance after impressive performance. Taking Mondeaux's reps won’t be easy, but I like the group of guys that are stepping up to the challenge.

Tags: Football, Oregon
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