Oregon Could Be Even Faster In 2012
Northwest Sports Update
BetOnline players have grown familiar to seeing Oregon at or near the top of the list when it comes to odds for the BCS title game, and a major factor in their success has been offensive speed as they run plays at an insane pace and have recruited a number of fast players. Running back LaMichael James left for the NFL, which of course hurts their team speed, but it doesn’t as much as you think as the Ducks could be even faster this season.
It’s always tough to replace a guy like James, who won the Doak Walker Award in 2010 as the nation’s best running back, and last season James finished second in the country in rushing behind Wisconsin’s Montee Ball despite being suspended for the first game of the season. Along with quarterback Darron Thomas, Chip Kelly’s high-paced offense really took flight over the last two years, but with both gone, some players that work with price per head software expect the Ducks to take a step back in 2012.
Thomas’ absence could be felt more as Bryan Bennett has to take some time to get used to the offense at game speed, but he has a pair of playmakers that will make it easier on him. Running back Kenjon Barner would spell James when the star needed a breather, and he managed to put up 939 yards and 11 touchdowns on 152 carries for an average of 6.2 yards. Barner is similar to James in that he is small and shifty and he can break out for a big play at any time, which makes him essential to Oregon’s sports betting odds.
But the x-factor is De’Anthony Thomas, who is listed as a receiver and led the team with 605 yards and nine touchdowns on 46 catches. But Thomas was also third on the Ducks in rushing with 595 yards and seven touchdowns with an insane average of 10.8 yards per carry, and that also includes a 91-yard touchdown that was the longest Oregon score of the season. Thomas is one of those players that is a threat wherever he lines up and the sophomore could be on the verge of having a monster season. He is also someone that you should watch out for in the college football betting odds for the Heisman.
Oregon has to compete with USC in the Pac-12, although they should have enough to win their division handily and face off with the Trojans once in the regular season and then again in the conference-title game. Barner and Thomas are going to play major roles in the Ducks’ success this season and if they get on track quickly, Oregon could close the gap on USC in your online sportsbook (find college football lines here).