Jake Hanson

Roses or Roulette?: Ducks Preview Part 4 - Offensive line shuffling

Roses or Roulette?: Ducks Preview Part 4 - Offensive line shuffling

College football is back! The Ducks begin fall camp on Monday so we're breaking down each position to determine if the Ducks, picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12, and their fans will be smelling roses as Pac-12 champs during a trip to the Rose Bowl, or placing bets at a roulette table prior to watching a sixth-place UO team in the Las Vegas Bowl. Each position is graded using the poker hand scale.  

Today: Offensive line. 

Projected starters: Junior left tackle Tyrell Crosby (6-5, 310), junior left guard Jake Pisarcik (6-2, 300), redshirt freshman center Jake Hanson (6-5, 288), redshirt freshman right guard Shane Lemieux (6-6, 310), senior right tackle Cameron Hunt (6-4, 295). 

Key backups: Senior-transfer tackle Zac Morgan (6-7, 280), redshirt freshman center Zach Okun (6-4, 310), redshirt freshman tackle Calvin Throckmorton (6-6, 290), redshirt junior guard Doug Brenner (6-2, 305), junior tackle Evan Voeller (6-5, 295).

Smelling like roses: The line certainly will be solid, at least. Crosby replaces Tyler Johnstone at left tackle while Hunt replaces Crosby at right tackle. Matt Pierson was a great story last season, but he should be adequately replaced by Pisarcik. The right-guard spot might be filled by the promising Lemiux. Center, left vacant by the departure of Matt Hegarty, could fall to Hanson, who has never played center in his life, but drew great praise during spring drills. If he is the next Hroniss Grasu, the Ducks will be in business. If not... the rest of the line could begin to ravel just a bit.

However, there is a wild card in all of this. Morgan, a transfer from Dayton where he started at both tackle spots, could easily slide into the right tackle position, which would keep Hunt at right guard. If that happens, the Ducks would have just one huge question mark along the line and that would be at center. 

Place your bets: Offensive line coach Steve Greatwood worked his magic last season while producing a very good mix after losing Grasu and Jake Fisher to the NFL. He might have more talent to work with this time around. But will it jell right away? The Ducks brought in Hegarty because they believed they needed to fill the hole left by the departure of Grasu. This time around they feel good about a young replacement at center. But he is young. If he proves to be a year away from truly being ready, the Ducks' offensive line could be weaker, leading to an offense that won't quite be championship-caliber. 

Odds are: The inclination is to believe that Greatwood will find the right mix, as he usually does. The addition of Morgan at right tackle would allow everything else to fall into place nice and neatly. 

Poker hand: Three of a kind. This group has a chance to be very good, but at the very least should be solid.  

Next up: Defensive line.  

Other posts: Quarterbacks; Running backs; Wide receivers/Tight ends; Defensive line; Linebackers; Defensive backs.       

Our top three Ducks who must improve for UO to contend

Our top three Ducks who must improve for UO to contend

Oregon doesn't start fall camp on Aug. 8, so we're trying to kill time with a little prognostication here and there. Today, Bri Amaranthus and Aaron Fentress count down their top three Ducks who must improve if Oregon is going to contend for the Pac-12 title in 2016.

NO. 3

Fentress' pick - Senior linebacker Johnny Ragin III: - Ragin provides some experience within a group loaded with inexperienced returning players. To help Oregon's move to the 4-3, Ragin must provide consistency and leadership.  

Quote: "He was taken to media day. He needs to play like a guy taken to media day. Last year, just 20 tackles. He going to need 60 or 70 to have an impact on that defense." '

Amaranthus' Pick - Junior left tackle Tyrell Crosby: - The three-year starter is on the quiet side vocally, but certainly creates noise on the field when he plows into defenders. Oregon could need him to provide leadership after losing seniors Tyler Johnstone and Matt Hegarty.

Quote: "He's got the physical abilities. We saw it last year. He started all 12 games. But he needs to become that emotional leader for the Ducks on the offensive line."


NO. 2

Fentress' pick - Redshirt freshman center Jake Hanson: - Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood praised Hanson's development during spring drills. Problem is, Hanson has never before played center. 

Quote: His youth could be a red flag, but "the last redshirt freshman to start for Oregon at center was Hroniss Grasu, who went on to win a couple of Rose Bowls, etc."

Amaranthus' Pick - Senior defensive end Torrodney Prevot: - The former four-star linebacker recruit has had a spotty career to date, now he moves to defensive end, where he could excel as a pass rusher in Oregon's new 4-3 scheme. 

Quote: "He moved from linebacker to defensive line during spring ball... He's going to have to put on a lot of weight. He wants to get to 255 pounds."


NO. 1

Fentress' pick - Sophomore defensive lineman Canton Kaumatule: - The former four-star recruit has the talent to become a dominant force but has been limited by injures, including a major concucssion suffered last season. 

Quote: "He has been compared to Buckner and Armstead, who are gone. He needs to play like one or both of those guys in order for that front seven to elevate itself after losing six of seven starters." 

Amaranthus' Pick - Junior cornerback Arrion Springs: - Springs is ultra talented. Just ask him. But mental lapses and inconsistent play have prevented him from reaching his potential. That must change this season. 

Quote: "Definitely talks the talk. We have to see him walk the walk a little bit more."