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Oregon Football

Top Questions Headed Into Spring Ball - Offense

February 19, 2020

Many fans are still buzzing from the Rose Bowl win on January 1. And we are only about six weeks removed and already turning the page towards Spring ball. 

Like I said in December, January and February, there is not much of an offseason these days. Spring ball will kick off in about three weeks and Oregon will host its first Junior Day. Just when you thought it was going to be slow Oregon lost a coach (Donte’ Williams) and hired a new one (Rod Chance) since signing day.

It’s pretty early for me to get too far into this but, we’re just going to grease the wheel a little bit. I don’t want to get too crazy too soon but let’s touch on a few early storylines to follow during Spring ball.

Who Backs Up Shough?

I just can’t envision any scenario where Tyler Shough isn’t the immediate starter filling in for the Justin Herbert era. Until we get into the Fall, Shough will be a bit of an unknown commodity. I’m sure you will hear a lot of praise from the staff and players, as it should be. But we won’t really know what he’s made of until we get a little closer to North Dakota State. 

The real battle will be who is QB2? And we might not get our answer until the Fall. Jay Butterfield is on campus and we don’t know where Cale Millen is at in his development. Last year I think Oregon had a capable backup in Shough, this year has a much bigger question mark. Lastly, where will Robby Ashford factor in once he gets on campus in June?

Wide Receivers and Devon Williams

I love what Juwan Johnson gave last year at Oregon. He wasn’t a take over the game kind of guy, but was there when it counted. But Oregon really didn’t replace the production from Dillon Mitchell two years ago.

Adding Devon Williams might have been the key here. He has the skillset to be a game-changer in this offense. Additionally it will be interesting to see the development of the young guns. There’s  a lot of potential with Mycah Pittman, Lance Wilhoite and Jaron Waters. But at the moment it’s still mostly just potential. 

I’ll be looking forward to hearing the DB’s talk about the toughest to guard this Spring.

Tight End/Cam McCormick

Pretty straight forward. This will probably be the most interesting group to track this season. From who’s with the 1’s to who’s getting reps to who makes up the most ground. 

Dj Johnson moving over might be the guy that gains the most steam from Spring to Fall as he settles in. 

If Cam McCormick can get healthy and stay that way, he’s a real x-factor for this season.

Is Patrick Herbert ready yet? How will Spencer Webb be used?

So many questions that won’t be answered until mid-to-late August in my opinion. 

Offensive Line Rotation

Specifically center. We have no idea who will be hiking the football and I anticipate a number of guys will get a shot here. This might be Ryan Walk and Alex Forsyth getting the heavy work early on. But I’ll be interested in seeing how TJ Bass works his way into the rotation as Spring and Fall move on.

Beyond that position, there’s still 3 other spots up for grabs. I get the feeling we’ll see a TON of rotating of bodies this Spring trying to find the best match and most effective use of talent. The great thing about how Oregon has recruited the past two years at offensive line is the versatility.

I doubt very seriously we’ll have a solid handle on this one after the Spring game. Rather the 7-8 guys all vying for play time and starting spots.

Offensive Philosophy

Oregon will usher in a new offensive coordinator with Joe Moorhead. Like many of you I’m excited about the potential changes he could bring with him. How will the pass game look? How will he integrate the pistol into his offense? What changes will we see?

Well those are all good questions, but with a new quarterback and a new offensive line, I would imagine we don’t see much. Step by step, little by little we’ll see the staff adding more into the playbook. 

But let’s be real the Spring game will feature 2, maybe 3 plays that any of us could call. There’s no reason to give anything away and Oregon won’t. 

I just don’t think we’ll have any handle on this answer until week 2 of the season. I’d like to believe as good as North Dakota State is, Oregon should be able to win with a handful of well ran plays. I imagine we’ll see a bit more versus the Buckeyes in week two in Eugene.

Like many of you, I’m very excited to see the evolution of this offense.

Tags: Football, Oregon
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