Back in April, Oregon lost its star wide receiver Bralon Addison due to a torn ACL during the fifth closed practice. This injury occurred just prior to a season in which both Addison and the No. 4 ranked Ducks were eyeing the inaugural NCAA playoffs.
The Ducks however, had no choice but to move on and have since been looking forward to grooming their new group of receivers, which will be led by veteran wide out Keanon Lowe.
“They’re all competing, which is very important,” wide receivers coach Matt Lubick said. “The younger guys lack in experience, but they excel in ability, so the competition is making everyone better.”
For the team, this injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. While recent rumors have alluded to a potential return for Addison, the Ducks are planning to play without him until further notice.
In light of all the chaos, Addison has still managed to keep his head high. As soon as the team confirmed the injury, it was a priority to keep the standout receiver involved.
“To me, that’s part of the healing process, keeping him as mentally involved as possible,” Lubick said. “We have a receiver meeting, for example, that is an open forum and sometimes I have to quiet him down for answering all the questions because he knows the playbook like the back of his hand.”
Since the decision, the two sides have figured out how to keep Addison involved in a way that benefits the team.
Addison, who is continuing to recover on a daily basis, has found his niche as a veteran leader on and off the field and has further sparked inspiration for his fellow teammates.
“Bralon’s been a good leader with his injury,” fellow receiver Darren Carrington said. “It’s hard to still lead with an injury like that.”
For the wide receiving corps, Addison has served as an example of how to put the team in front of the player.
“His presence alone really sets the tone for the receivers,” Marcus Mariota said. “He’s going to continue to find ways to help us out.”
As a nationally recognized player, Addison could have easily reverted to bitterness and frustration, but instead, he has used his knowledge and experience to help the team while keeping his mind busy.
“To his credit, he’s kept his mind busy by helping the other guys,” Lubick said. “He’s a very smart, experienced football player and that’s what makes him so good.”
Although there will be a transition period physically and mentally, if Addison does indeed return to the field before the end of the season, it will be as if he didn’t miss a beat.
“It’s definitely hard having to sit out, but at the same time, it’s given me some happiness helping out the younger guys,” Addison said. “In the end, it will help out this team.”
He has after all been a leader, just in a different capacity.
“He’s (Addison) just being a leader out there like he was when he was on the field,” wide receiver Chance Allen said. “Just out there being another coach really.”
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