A year ago, Tako Tuesdays was just a twinkle in my eye and I had to write actual information to get people to read my FanPosts, instead of posting some list of TV shows and watching the Internet throw up on the comments section. A year ago, I was a Music Composition major staying up late writing crappy music that neither I nor my professors liked. A year ago, I gave my list of the 10 most important Ducks for the upcoming football season. The list looked like this:
So it's a mixed bag of too high (TJ Ward), too low (LaMichael and Maehl/Dickson), and too disappointing (Blount). I'll try and do better this year. My list after the jump.
10. Darrion Weems
Here's where I explain why a non-starter is important. First, he had a great spring, taking advantage of Carson York's injury to get some quality work in with the ones. Second, Bo Thran can't be counted on to stay healthy the entire year, and he definitely can't be counted on to play a full game. Weems is our Bo Thran health insurance plan, as well as our Carson York and Mark Asper insurance money; Thran is a better interior option than Ryan Clanton or Charlie Carmichael, and can slide inside to a guard spot. There's no better problem than an overabundance of quality linemen, and Weems fits the bill perfectly.
9. Remene Alston, Lache Seastrunk, and Dontae Williams
LaMichael James will be LaMichael James. He's a speedy luxury car, like a BMW M5 or an Audi S6. Kenjon Barner is the Ferrari California that you just love to get out on the open road. Losing LeGarrette Blount leaves us without a big truck that can run over and through anything. If Remene Alston can get his off-field stuff in line, he's a capable power back. If not, that leaves the two freshman to come in and immediately contribute. Williams is listed at 200 pounds, Seastrunk at 190. I'd love to see Dontae Williams bulk up to 225 or 230, and just run folks over.
8. Jeff Maehl
He'll have help from DJ Davis, Lavasier Tuinei, the tight ends, and the rest of the receivers. But with Ed Dickson gone, the Maehlman is now THE man in the Oregon receiving offense. There isn't any more margin for error with his game: no more fumbles, no more drops. If his season next year is the Arizona and Oregon State games from last year, we're in business.
7. Talmadge Jackson III, along with the rest of the defensive backfield
TJ3 did a good-not-great job once he was elevated to #1 cornerback status last year. When he's at his best, he's one of the better corners in the Pac-10. When he's not, he's either getting handsy and drawing penalties or getting torched by James Rodgers. As far as the other side goes, the competition remains wide open between Cliff Harris, Anthony Gildon, Scott Grady, Avery Patterson, and Chad Peppars, with an absolutely beautiful spring from true freshman Terence Mitchell that puts him in a great position to see significant time in the fall.
Every time we needed a clutch first down, or a man open downfield on a broken play, Paulson was there. Now he's the number one option, and he's gotta continue to be shifty. He'll have support from Brandon Williams; if those two can play well and stay healthy, it leaves the option open to redshirt Curtis White. In our offense, a tight end is the safety net, a guy we can rely on to be solid if the reads aren't going the right way. Paulson fits the profile perfectly.
5. Rob Beard or Alejandro Maldonado
Morgan Flint was a pleasant surprise for the last two years, a little guy who was money in the bank from inside 35
years yards for us. With the aggressive style that Chip Kelly brings, that's all we need. We don't kick on 4th and 7 from the 37; we go for it. We know Rob Beard has more than enough leg; if he doesn't improve his accuracy more than he already has, expect to see Maldonado come into fall camp and challenge for the starting spot. We will definitely get to see Maldonado against New Mexico State, as Beard will be serving a one-game suspension for his role in a drunken fight.
4. Kenjon Barner
LaMichael James, by himself, gives us a good offense. LMJ, with good quarterback play, gives us a great offense. Kenjon Barner on top of all of that makes us unstoppable. His skillset is perfect for a showcase role in our offense, and his return skills make him all the more important. Without him, we lose the Rose Bowl by 20, and OSU gets the ball back in the fourth quarter. He is what will make the 2010 Oregon football team unique from any other. With LaMichael James out for the New Mexico
State game, Kenjon gets to show us he can be an every down back.
The center is the catalyst. All timings with the zone read start with a good snap. Jordan Holmes played exceptionally well last year, and his success sets us up nicely to contend for another Pac-10 title. If he gets hurt, we'll have to hope for great play from senior Max Forer in order to run our offense. Great play from Holmes makes everybody's job easier, and if he does his job right, we won't notice him. And I'm okay with not noticing him. Big ups to JConant for pointing out that I missed Holmes in last year's list. You were right then and you're still right now.
2. LaMichael James
We saw it firsthand last year; it's not easy to start the season on the road in an unfamiliar environment. LaGarrette Blount couldn't do it. Jeremiah Masoli couldn't do it. With his one game suspension against
NMSU UNM, LaMichael James is gonna have to do it this year at Tennessee. That being said, he's the most electric playmaker the Ducks have seen at running back in a long time. And he's a redshirt sophomore. These next few years are gonna be fun.
What, you were expecting something surprising? If our starting quarterback plays well, we will win. If not, we we'll be a middle of the pack team. Look at Cal last year. Talented team, who became merely league average with underwhelming quarterback play. If Darron Thomas doesn't play markedly better than Nate Costa in fall camp, I think Costa has to open the season as the starter. He knows the offense better than anyone but Chip Kelly, and he can make the throws.
Did anyone do anything Keg Sticker-worthy this week? I'm giving Dave one for his Media Saturday. Thanks man, I needed that.
Matt Daddy - 5
Bill Musgrave - 5
Addicted to Quack - 5
Gorbachav5 - 4
JonathanPDX - 3
JShufelt - 3
Takimoto - 3
axemen23 - 2
trumpetduck - 2
AllSaintsDay - 2
CaDuck - 1
ntrebon - 1
HoodRiverDuck - 1
QuackinAK - 1
jtlight - 1
benzduck - 1
qrsouther - 1
echo31 - 1
scudderfan - 1
Mrs. Gorby - 1
MiracleWolf - 1
keeerrrttt - 1
DuckFanAndy - 1
dannyoneil94 - 1
hazmat5793 - 1
And for a discussion topic? Ummmm, pizza. Chicago or New York-style? What toppings? Best pizza you've ever had?