Daryle Hawkins is one of several players trying to make a case for a permanent rotation spot against Missouri State. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
I've been sitting here for twenty minutes wondering how I should do the preview for Missouri State. Should I tell you about their 3-4 defense? Maybe their pretty good (by FCS standards) secondary? Look for some kind of special matchup?
The truth is, none of that matters. Missouri State is going to get slaughtered. That will be true whether we run a zone read every play or a straight power blast. If we start Bryan Bennett and Tra Carson. If Chip Kelly decides to take a nap and let Mark Helfrich run the show. Its all irrelevant. The outcome is not in doubt.
That said, there are still interesting things to look for from the Oregon offense during the Missouri State game, things that could have implications for Oregon during the regular season.
This group played much, much better against Nevada, and I want them to absolutely dominate the Bears. There is no excuse not to. I want to see really big holes opened up. I want to see 5-6 runs of twenty yards or more, minimum. They haven't really gotten that great push yet. Its three games in, against a woefully overmatched opponent, its time to get that done.
I want to see Darron Thomas have another game as efficient as the one against Nevada. I want a crisp half out of him with accurate passes and good reads, then I don't want to see him again. Let Bryan Bennett mop up. Give Dustin Haines a series for the hell of it.
Honestly, we know what LaMichael James and, increasingly, what DeAnthony Thomas can do. Of course, I want them to have great games but, mainly, I don't want them to get hurt. Like DT, play them a half, then let Carson and Forde mop the game up.
Earth to David Paulson. He's one guy I haven't heard anything from this season. And while I know that he's a proven playmaker, it would still be nice to hear his name a few times on Saturday. The continued development of Colt Lyerla will also be key.
This is the position that is most interesting to me. I doubt we'll see Huff play. I don't know Justin Hoffman's status, but he could be fighting for his job with Rasaan Vaughn (though both are probably comfortably in the rotation at this point). The job for the fifth receiver (and the last guy that has any chance to get any PT once the conference season starts) is the most interesting storyline on offense for me. Will Murphy has held that job the first two games, with some mixed results. Daryle Hawkins and Eric Dungy both had nice grabs against Nevada, but the sample size was really small. All three of those guys figure to get plenty of playing time. Can one of them take the opportunity and run with it?
Its not any more complicated than that. Don't get anybody hurt. Let the young guys get more experience. Try to figure out that last rotation spot or two. We get that done, with a lopsided score to boot, and the weekend is a success.