Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players
Oregon Ducks Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Oregon season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Oregon Ducks Preview
Dan Lanning: 0-0, 1st year at Oregon,
2021 Preview: Overall: 10-4, Conference: 7-2
Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Oregon Top 10 Players | Oregon Schedule & Analysis
Oregon Ducks Preview 2022
So what’s missing?
There was the 4-8 clunker in 2016, and there were a few other disappointing runs, but for the most part Oregon has been a Pac-12 player since 1994, when it was still the Pac-10.
There have been two national championship appearances in the last 12 years – no one else in the Pac-12 has any over that span, including USC. Since 1994 there have been five Rose Bowls, seven conference championships, and five Pac-12 Championship appearances including three in a row.
The talent is rolling into Eugene, money isn’t a problem, there are plenty of pretty little uniform changes, and overall, this is a super-cool program that’s perfectly positioned for the new world of college athletics and all the craziness that’s coming with it.
So really. What’s missing?
Oregon has to stop losing to teams it shouldn’t lose to.
What’s the difference between Alabama, whatever the SEC team of the moment is that’s not Alabama, and when they’re rocking, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oklahoma?
They might lose a game, but when they’re great, they don’t lose two. And if they do lose two, it sure as shoot isn’t to 2021 Stanford. Or 2020 Cal. Or 2018 Arizona. Or 2017 UCLA. Or 2016 Oregon State.
Ever since 2015, Oregon has had one loss to a team that finished with a losing record in every year but 2019, and even that powerhouse lost because it didn’t show up at Arizona State until it was too late.
When was the last time Clemson lost to a team that finished with a losing record? 2009.
2018 Ohio State brain-cramped against a Purdue team that ended up going 6-7, but it also finished 13-1 with a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl win. Before that – like Clemson – you have to go back to 2009.
And now Oregon has to fix that.
So what does the program do after losing Mario Cristobal to Miami? It hires a 36-year-old who has never been a head coach before, and made his name by coaching a Georgia defense that had as much NFL talent as any in college football history.
It’s a bold move, but it’s also taking a monster shot for the stars considering the team in place is good enough to make a serious push for the College Football Playoff.
It’s the first time since the program hired Rich Brooks in 1977 that the focus is on the defensive side.
From Bellotti to Kelly, Helfrich to Taggart to Cristobal, Oregon has been about the snazz. It’s made its name and reputation with a breathtaking offensive style, and along the way made Duck offensive linemen and defensive stars bristle at the idea of being sort of a finesse, gimmicky team.
But Oregon can have it all.
It can have a high-octane offense, a nasty defense, and as it’s about to show off this year, it can have one of the most powerful offensive lines in college football.
Make no mistake about it, there is no learning curve for the new guy. This has the potential to be one bad-ass physical team that should set the bar at nothing lower than a Pac-12 Championship and a massive season.
It just has to watch out for Colorado.
Oregon Ducks Preview 2022: Offense, Defense NEXT
Oregon Ducks Preview 2022: Offense
The Oregon offense was fine, but two late games against Utah gave off the impression that it wasn’t. It was well balanced, outstanding on third downs, and it had an explosive element to the ground game.
It might have struggled at times to put points on the board without having to work for it, but for the most part there was a positive consistency to the inconsistency – as lame as that sounds.
To put it slightly better – although still going cliché – the offense usually found a way to get the job done.
Enter Kenny Dillingham, an offensive coordinator who cut his teeth coaching up the Memphis teams that seemed to gash defenses for 16 yards a carry every time you looked. It didn’t work quite as well at Auburn or Florida State, but he’s a rising young prospect who’s got all the pressure on to rock at a place known for fun offenses.
Anthony Brown was better than he got credit for, but he wasn’t always perfect and the O bogged down way too often.
Enter Bo Nix from Auburn, who might have had his ups and downs over three years, but he’s got a knack for making really big plays when he has to – sorry, 2019 Duck fans … too soon, too soon. It’s his O with the promising Ty Thompson a 6-4, 223-pounder starting out as the 2.
The passing game got a whole lot of parts involved, but leading yardage receiver Devon Williams is off to the NFL – and too early – and RB Travis Dye was the top pass catcher.
A whole lot of parts are coming in from the transfer portal – like Chase Cota from UCLA and Caleb Chapman from Texas A&M – but this is where the youth kicks in with sophomores Troy Franklin, Seven McGee, and Donte Thornton all explosive downfield threats.
The offensive line was good enough for the running game and great at keeping defenses out of the backfield. It has way too much talent not to be amazing.
TJ Bass is one of the best blockers in the Pac-12 no matter where he plays, Steven Jones will likely to move to left tackle after working in a variety of spots, and Alex Forsyth might be the league’s best center.
Throw in all-star Ryan Walk at guard and pro prospect Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, and the new coaching staff is gifted a line built by a guy like Mario Cristobal who knows college front five talent.
Travis Dye defected to USC, and now it’s up to 417-yard sophomore Bryon Cardwell to get the ground game going until Minnesota transfer Mar’Keise Irving and WKU’s Noah Whittington can get into the groove.
Oregon Ducks Preview 2022: Defense
You don’t hire Dan Lanning as your head coach unless you’re ready to make the defense a dominant force. He might not have the talent to work with like he had a Georgia, but it’s not terribly far off in some spots.
Former Alabama defensive coordinator and NFL assistant Tosh Lupoi has been around his share of big-time players, and now he gets to turn this group loose starting with the …
Linebackers. Oregon has something special here if everyone can stay in one piece. Justin Flowe hasn’t had a lick of injury luck, but Noah Sewell has lived up to the prep hype as the team’s leading tackler over the last two seasons.
If these two are healthy, this might be the best 1-2 linebacking punch in college football. Mase Funa is a growing pro prospect on the strongside, too.
They’ll get plenty of room to work behind a defensive front anchored by all-star Popo Aumavae on the nose and First Team All-Pac-12 end-really-a-tackle Brandon Dorlus.
Transfers Casey Rogers and Jordon Riley from Nebraska and Sam Taimani from Washington are bringing the depth inside.
There might not be another Kayvon Thibodeaux, but there are plenty of interesting parts – starting with former TE DJ Johnson and Bradyn Swinson – who should be able to get behind the line.
The corners are set, but the safeties need a little work. Christian Gonzalez is a ready-to-go transfer from Colorado with 78 tackles and ten broken up passes in two seasons. There are plenty of young safety options who got in a little work, but there isn’t another playmaking star like Verone McKinley.
Oregon Ducks: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT
Oregon Ducks: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats
Oregon Ducks: Key To The 2022 Offense
Get more downfield plays out of the passing game.
Speed isn’t an issue with the Oregon receiving corps, pass protection won’t be a problem, and the running game should do a whole lot of heavy lifting. Now it’s up to Bo Nix to do what he couldn’t at Auburn and consistently connect on the midrange to deep balls.
He’s got the arm, and he’s got the experience. Now he has to crank up a passing game that averaged 7.6 yards per pass. That’s hardly awful, except it’s the lowest mark at Oregon since 2009. Obviously, more downfield connections will open up everything else.
By the way, for his career, Nix averages 6.9 yards per attempt.
Oregon Ducks: Key To The 2022 Defense
Oregon needs … a pass rush?
It sounds crazy with all the talent the Ducks had, but the defense did more on pass rushing reputation than just about any team in America.
Kayvon Thibodeaux was always banged up after his great freshman year, but teams still freaked out about stopping him and the other Oregon pass rushers.
And, there were times when the Oregon defense just couldn’t do enough in the backfield.
Oregon was among the worst teams in America on third down stops, and it averaged a mere 1.64 sacks per game – the lowest in well over a decade.
This coaching staff won’t allow this D with this much talent to fail to generate two sacks in eight games like last year. That’s why …
Oregon Ducks: Key Player To The 2022 Season
DE DJ Johnson, Sr.
The 6-4, 273-pound Johnson was a defensive end, then a tight end, and now a defensive end again. Now it’s up to him to be a pass rushing terror along with Bradyn Swinson in the Jack linebacker role.
No one’s expecting either one to be Kayvon Thibodeaux, and the linebackers will take care of a lot of work in the backfield, but this D goes to another level if Johnson flourishes under the new coaching staff and lives behind the line.
Oregon Ducks: Key Transfer
QB Bo Nix, Jr.
Nix, the former Auburn quarterback is mostly known for shocking Justin Herbert and Oregon in the 2019 season opener – and effectively keeping the Ducks out of the College Football Playoff – after doing absolutely nothing for about 58 minutes and 30 seconds.
If you thought Anthony Brown wasn’t exactly consistent, wait until you get a load of Nix. However, he’s got great passing skills and he’s been through the SEC wars.
Oregon Key Game To The 2022 Season
BYU, Sept. 17
There’s no USC on the slate, and Utah, UCLA and Washington have to come to Eugene. Considering divisions aren’t around anymore, the Pac-12 road slate couldn’t be easier. More on that in a moment.
Assume a loss to Georgia to start the season. If it’s not, then all this changes. But if the Ducks drop the date in Atlanta – seriously, Oregon, why the hell did you take this game? – the season is effectively over with one more loss.
At least the College Football Playoff dream is done.
BYU is just good enough to roll into town, get all physical, and leave the Ducks with a 1-2 start. However, win this, and at Washington, Stanford, at Arizona, week off – Oregon should be 5-1 to get ready for UCLA.
Oregon Ducks: 2021 Fun Stats
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 24-of-35 (69%) – Oregon 9-of-19 (47%)
– 2nd Half Scoring: Oregon 251 – Opponents 172
– Oregon Yards: Passing 3,098, Rushing 3,043 (2,833 net)
Oregon Ducks Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT
Oregon Ducks Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Sorry Oregon, but your transitional coaching staff grace period ends … now.
You’re almost never going to get a Pac-12 schedule this good again.
The talent is there from the previous regime, and the addition of a few choice transfers helped fill in the gaps and the depth. More than anything else, the new coaching staff inherits what no new staffs almost never, ever, ever get …
The lines. Dan Lanning and company are gifted one of the best offensive fronts in college football, and a defensive line that’s good enough to let the superstar linebackers rock.
Oddly enough for this program, the question mark early on will be the skill parts – especially early on, but again, with this schedule you have to at least get back to the Pac-12 Championship.
Set The Oregon Ducks Regular Season Win Total At … 9.5
The Georgia game to start the season is unfortunate, but win that, and the bar goes from just getting the Pac-12 Championship to owning a spot in the College Football Playoff.
BYU is a problem – even at home – then there’s the monster break of divisions being done away with this year. Not playing Arizona State isn’t a bad thing if you’re Oregon considering the recent key losses, and missing USC is massive.
So if you’re a Pac-12 team and you have to pick five conference road games, you’d select Arizona, Colorado, Cal, Washington State, and Oregon. That means you’d get UCLA, Washington, Utah, and Stanford at home.
There’s going to be one other loss after the opener against the Dawgs. However, Oregon should be favored in all 11 games after coming back from Atlanta.
Get to the Pac-12 Championship, Ducks.