One of the brightest spots for Oregon this spring was the play of wide receiver Jamere Holland. It was just last year that he looked to be the starter across from Jaison Williams when a severe knee injury forced him to miss all of fall camp. He had troubles learned the playbook, seemingly lacking all of the motivation to make it as a college football player. Head Coach Mike Bellotti told Holland that he had his permission to seek a transfer if he wasn't going to get it together. It was put up or shut up time.
After that meeting, things finally started to come together. He caught a 47-yard pass on a flea flicker in the Holiday Bowl and has had, by all accounts, an eye-catching spring. The talent and potential had always been there for the fastest man in college football. The motivation seems to have finally caught up to that speed.
Last year at this time, we were all marveling at Lagarrette Blount's performance in the spring game, wondering if he could carry it over to the fall. He went on to rush for over 1000 yards as a compliment to Jeremiah Johnson. Is it possible Jamere Holland could be in for a similar run? That leads us to this week's Fact or Fiction question.
Fact or Fiction: Jamere Holland will gain over 1000 yards receiving in 2009
JConant > FICTION
I expect a breakout season for Holland. Predicting a 1000-yard season from a guy who's barely played just doesn't feel right. Only seven Ducks all time have had 1000-yard receiving seasons. Jaison Williams missed becoming the eighth in 2006 by only 14 yards. The last was Demetrius Williams with 1059 in 2005. No Duck has ever done it twice. My point - it's no easy feat. Maybe even more difficult in Chip Kelly's spread attack that emphasizes rushing the ball and spreads the passing wealth around quite a bit.
What could Holland do? I could see him catching 40 balls. That would be a solid contribution from a first-year starter. I could also see Holland eclipsing 1000 all-purpose yards if he returns kickoffs.
jtlight > FICTION
While I expect Holland to have a very productive year, I do not think he will break 1,000 yards. Oregon under Chip Kelly just doesn't have a single receiver like they have in previous years. Kelly offenses just haven't had enough completions or yards to get that type of year, especially from a single player. Receptions will be split between running backs, tight ends, and the other receivers. With that offense, it's too easy for a single player to get left out of a single game, and derail hopes of a 1,000 yards receiving season.
I also don't know how the chemistry between Masoli and Holland will work out. At this point, we don't know which receiver will become Masoli's go-to guy. It could be any number of players, and we don't yet know that Holland will become that guy. If he does, he has a shot, but I'm not betting on that at this point. What I want to see out of Holland is that he catches those passes thrown his way, gets yards after catch, and catches a long ball every other game or so. For all of our receivers, efficiency will be key. Overall numbers won't the way to measure Holland's success in my mind.
dvieira > FACT
I know that spring ball isn't a good indicator of how a player will do in the regular season but I think this year sets up very nicely for Jamere Holland to get over 1000 yards receiving. Although Oregon hasn't had a long and storied history of 1000 yard receivers, Chip Kelly has coached a big time wide receiver while he was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire. David Ball went for 1114 yards in 2006 (Chip's last season with New Hampshire), 1551 yards in 2005, and 1495 yards in 2004. The offensive scheme that Chip Kelly employs doesn't prevent a receiver, with the right amount of talent, to emerge as a premiere offensive weapon.
Several teams lost experience in their defensive backfields in the offseason and with Masoli starting to gel with the offense at the end of the 2008 campaign, his passing numbers should be greatly improved for the upcoming year. Given our inexperience on the offensive line, I expect new wrinkles in the offense that get Holland the ball and with his speed, he should be able to beat most corners on the deep routes.