The Oregon Ducks’ offense is one of the top, if not the top, offense in college football. With an up-tempo style that sucks the energy out of opposing defenders, the Ducks have excelled at putting points on the board at a rate that sees them to outstanding totals.
Though Chip Kelly is now long-gone from the program and looking to build a solid career at the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ducks’ offense will remain essentially the same under new head coach Mark Helfrich.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there won’t be some changes to Oregon’s offense in 2013. A fan of the pass over the run, look for the Ducks to really open up the field with the pass more than they have in recent memory. It has also been rumored that Helfrich would like his offense to up their tempo even further in 2013, a remarkable goal when you look at how fast they have operated in the past few years.
With only minor changes set to occur in the offense this next year, here are the 5 most important players for the Ducks on offense.
Marcus Mariota – QB
Putting Marcus Mariota on here was a no brainer. One of the top quarterbacks in the nation in his first year on the field for the Ducks, Mariota will be one of the determining factors in how far Oregon goes this season.
With the type of speed and versatility he boasts, he could very well be a Heisman candidate at the end of the year. However, he will need to avoid the sophomore slump while carrying more of the team on his shoulders and avoiding the defenders who will be keying on him and adapting to his play.
Look for him to sling the ball around much more this next season, showing off his impressively strong and accurate arm.
Byron Marshall – RB
While many believe standout and speedster De’Anthony Thomas may garner the most attention at running back for the Ducks this next season, I’m a firm believer that he will excel but in the same role he has held in year’s past. This would obviously leave the running back position to Byron Marshall, a guy who can actually get through the tackles while demonstrating breakaway speed as well.
He’ll obviously have to compete with incoming sensation Thomas Tyner but I believe Marshall has a lock on the starting job after impressing coaches throughout spring camp and at the spring game.
The young back will have to have a pretty good year to live up to the expectations of past backs, but he definitely has the talent to do so. If he can have a productive year, the Ducks could have one of their best in history.
Bralon Addison – WR
Oregon will be opening up the pass in 2013 and that will mean the wide receivers will be very important,
Bralon Addison apparently impressed coaches in camp and was one of the standouts in the spring game. He found playing time last year but really didn’t make that impact needed for a receiver looking to be an impact player at the college level.
He has to capitalize on the Oregon offense relying more on the pass if he wants to help the Ducks to immense success.
Josh Huff – WR
The same logic works with Josh Huff as it does with Addison. The Ducks will reportedly be throwing the ball a lot more, so their receivers will be relied much more upon in the coming years.
That being said, they will still need to remember blocking assignments and downfield play to really take the Oregon offense to the next level.
Huff has been productive in past seasons, but he must have a breakout season for the Ducks if he wants to help take the pressure off younger players in his unit.
Hronnis Grasu – OL
There have been times when you’ve wanted to look away when Hronnis Grasu snapped the ball. But that was in 2011, in his first year as a starter.
Grasu is now one of the better center’s in the Pac-12 and should continue to play very well in 2013. He’ll be one of the veterans along a line that will likely see a lot of new faces, so his seniority will surely help those younger Ducks really get used to the offense.
He has developed into one of the more important players on offense and will need to keep up his impressive play if Oregon is to succeed next year.