Oregon Football: Ducks Must Develop WRs for Marcus Mariota This Spring

Oregon Must Develop Wideouts This Spring

4/3/14 in NCAAF   |   chris901   |   24 respect

Nov 29, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers linebacker Jabral Johnson (44) defends as Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws the ball at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY SportsEven superheroes have trouble doing things alone, and no matter how “super-human” Marcus Mariota performs on the football field, he needs help. 

Mariota has the speed to make plays with his legs, scoring nine rushing touchdowns in 2013, but he is a quarterback after all. A quarterback needs receivers, and so the Oregon Ducks must groom  at least one new target for Mariota this spring. 

Two of the top-three Oregon receivers from 2013 are not on the roster anymore. Josh Huff and Daryle Hawkins have both graduated, making it necessary for the Ducks to find suitable replacements for those two players. 

Bralon Addison and Keanon Lowe will provide a good place to start the replacement process of Huff and Hawkins. Both Addison and Lowe had healthy amounts of playing time in 2013 for the Ducks, and Addison in particular was one of Mariota’s favorite targets. Addison had 61 receptions and seven receiving touchdowns in 2013, and if he maintains that caliber of performance this season, he will be the leader of this receiving group. 

Beyond those two returning players, the Ducks will likely only need to find one more receiver to make this offense just as formidable as it has been in the past. Oregon only has one true freshman receiver on the roster: Jalen Brown out of Phoenix (AZ), along with two more redshirt freshmen. This team is not young at the receiver position, and with the ability of the Oregon program to train elite athletes, it shouldn’t have too much trouble finding one more gem for the third receiver spot. 

Furthermore, the Ducks can use their returning tight ends, 6-foot-6 junior Pharaoh Brown and 6-foot-4 sophomore Johnny Mundt, to score touchdowns as well. Brown and Mundt combined for five touchdowns in 2013 and their size alone makes them ideal targets for Mariota to utilize when driving down the field. 

These tight ends will provide the size lost from the vacancy left by Hawkins, who was larger than both Addison and Lowe, standing at 6-foot-4.

If all else fails, the Ducks can simply run the ball with their two exceptional running backs, Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner. These two backs have proven they can catch the ball out of the backfield, which makes them eligible receivers on any play. They also totaled 23 touchdowns on the ground between the two of them. 

With two receivers, two tight ends, and a running back who can all catch the ball, Oregon looks stacked going into this season. That combination also gives the Ducks plenty of opportunities to confuse their opponents with multiple formations and play calls. 

There really is no reason for the Ducks to panic. They have the speed to outrun most of their competition, and the personnel they have this year is not too much different than last year. Addison is ready to replace Huff, and the two running backs can step in for playmaking machine De’Anthony Thomas

Overall, the Ducks will adjust to their need for a third wide receiver just as quickly as they run down the field on game days.

Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview