Oregon Offensive Line Preview: A talented a deep group look to pave the way for the offense

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon's offensive line has helped Oregon's offense dominate the last few years. The Ducks return a lot of talent and depth that will be necessary for them to retake the Pac-12 North.

The Oregon rushing attack simply never lets up. During Chip Kelly's tenure at Oregon, the rushing offense improved every single year, ending with last year's record-setting ground attack which racked up over 315 yards per game on the ground. While much credit can be given to Kenjon Barner, Marcus Mariota, and De'Anthony Thomas, a lot of the credit goes to Oregon's offensive line. The group, despite dealing with numerous injuries throughout the year, made possible the rushing numbers. Oregon's versatility along the line kept offense humming throughout the year.

This year, Oregon returns 3 of the stars from that line, and puts together one of the most talented lines in school history. After Oregon fell in the BCS Championship a few years ago, Oregon pulled in a great recruiting class, and we're seeing that pay off. Two of the top recruits from that class, Jake Fisher and Tyler Johnstone return at the tackle positions for Oregon. First Team All Pac-12 Center Hroniss Grasu anchor the middle of the line. With those building blocks, any line should be successful.

The only competition during fall camp along the offensive line will determine who will play guard. Currently it looks like Mana Greig (who missed much of last year to season-ending injury) and Hamani Stevens will get the starting spots. But Everett Benyard and Andre Yruretagoyena (also part of the 2011 recruiting class) look to be equally capable, and will likely see a lot of time in the rotation. (UPDATE: Moseley just posted a look at the position battles in camp, and focused on the guard position. Sounds like it's down to Greig, Stevens, and Benyard)

Outside of the guard position, the Ducks have a number of options should disaster strike along the offensive line. Karrington Armstrong is a capable backup at center. James Euscher was making strides in the spring before being limited by injury. And the Ducks have a number of true freshmen, the most ready to play is probably Cameron Hunt, that could be pressed into service though redshirt is expected.

It's a very talented group. It's deep. It has good size and great athleticism. Building this group has been key to Oregon's outstanding success over the past few years.

So the only real question is...can they control the line of scrimmage against the best? The simple answer is we just won't know until November 7th when the Ducks take on Stanford in Palo Alto. It will be the first serious test of the offensive line. While the Pac-12 has some dangerous defensive lines out there, the Ducks will miss two of the strongest in USC and ASU (unless they meet in the championship game).

With the returning talent, depth, and experience of the group, I'm very excited to see what they can do. If they can stay relatively healthy this season, it will be a line that can go toe-to-toe with any group in the country.

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