Fall camp is over and the Ducks begin a normal game week Saturday. A few disappointed young players will be issued red scout team jerseys after being counseled today about whether or not they’re earmarked to redshirt.
Yesterday in the last scrimmage of fall camp Royce Freeman broke off a couple of long TD runs, amid growing buzz that he’s challenging to be the starter at running back for the Ducks, seriously pushing a couple of talented veterans in Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner.
It’d be a mistake for Oregon to shelve any of these three guys. Get them 12-18 touches apiece, and if Freeman has progressed that far that fast, use Tyner in the multiple De’Anthony Thomas role, running a few reverses and catching some passes as well as running the football. He has all of the speed with more power, though not as elusive as The Black Momba was. Campbell and Frost will likely find a role for each, and while there’s a healthy competition among them there’s no animosity or rivalry.
Rob Moseley said that Devon Allen caught a deep ball from Jeff Lockie yesterday, a pass that looked overthrown until Allen turned on the jets. The development of the wide receivers this August was one of the gigantic successes of fall camp. Newcomer Kahlil Oliver is another one. The two-star defensive back from Idaho claimed Oregon’s last scholarship before Signing Day but impressed all during camp with his readiness and maturity. The goducks practice report credit him with two interceptions yesterday and a couple of touchdown-saving tackles. He’s likely secured a spot in the rotation after three weeks of very solid work.
It’s audacious to think any team will go undefeated. Rarely does more than one do so in whole country. The PAC-12 is tough. 10 of the 12 teams return their starting quarterback, and five of those passed for more than 3500 yards. Seven went to the Manning Passing Academy this summer as counselors. Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, Todd Graham at Arizona State, Jim Mora at UCLA and Mike Leach at Washington State are all in their third year at their schools. If Oregon has to lose to somebody, best case would be UCLA or the Cougs. They need a win over Michigan State or the national pundits will write them off as the same old Ducks. Another loss to Stanford in November would be disastrous.