It’s no secret the Oregon offense is something to behold. During Chip Kelly’s four-year tenure in Eugene, the Ducks were regarded by many to have the best, most dynamic offense in all of collegiate football. They scored the most points, and not only that, they did it fast. Really fast.
As dominant and as explosive as the Ducks’ offense has been, for the past several years there has been one glaring absence. Since the departure of Jeff Maehl from the football program, Oregon has lacked a legitimate deep threat at the wide receiver position to open up the field.
While this lack of a deep threat has far from hindered the effectiveness of the Oregon offense, four BCS bowl appearances in four years is nothing to be ashamed about. The presence of a go-to receiver would pay sizable dividends for an offense run by a dual-threat quarterback such as Marcus Mariota.
This is not to say, however, that the answer to this quandary is not already present on the 2013 roster.
Even while missing two games during the 2012 campaign, Josh Huff led the team in receiving yards with 493, as well as touchdowns with seven.
Entering his senior season in Eugene, the one thing that has never come under scrutiny with Huff is his talent. He possesses all the physical attributes necessary to be a dominant receiver on the collegiate level, and come fall he should be a favorite target for Mariota and the fast-paced Oregon offense.
By all accounts, Huff has cleared up and matured from off-the-field issues he dealt with during the winter and has entered spring camp with a renewed sense of determination and discipline.
If Huff can not only fill the void of the deep-threat receiver that has been absent from the Oregon offense for several years as well as a leadership role on a relatively young team, the Duck offense has the potential to be that much more lethal.
To pair with Huff on the outside, Keanon Lowe and Bralon Addison are both expected to start come August 31 when the Ducks open against Nicholls State. Both Lowe and Addison tallied three touchdowns in their 2012 efforts and have showed glimpses of brilliance and the ability to be effective wide outs in the Oregon offensive scheme. However, this year much more will be expected from the young receivers, and it will be interesting to see how they both deal with the increased workload.
The real X factor in terms of the Oregon passing game is not even a receiver. It is tight end Colt Lyerla. In 2012, Lyerla had a breakout season, snagging 25 catches and finding the end zone a total of six times. Lyerla has all the physical attributes to be one of the nation’s top tight ends, and if he lives up to his potential, the Oregon pass game will be that much more dangerous.
While there is a sense of uncertainty about whether new coach Mark Helfrich will put the ball in the air more often than his predecessor Chip Kelly, one thing is certain. Helfrich definitely has the talent on the outside to successfully air the ball out if he so chooses in his maiden voyage as the Oregon head coach.