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Position Preview: Secondary

Starter Anthony Gildon (6-1, 185, Jr) John Boyett (5-10, 198, So) Eddie Pleasant (5-11, 213, Jr) Talmadge Jackson III (5-10, 188, Sr)
Reserves Cliff Harris (5-11, 180, So) Brian Butterfield (6-0, 183, Sr) Erick Dargan (6-1, 197, Fr) Scott Grady (5-11, 180, So)
Terrance Mitchell (6-0, 183, Fr) Marvin Johnson (5-11, 210, Sr) Javes Lewis (6-1, 190, Jr) Dior Mathis (5-9, 180, Fr)
Avery Patterson (5-10, 180, RFr) Marcus Davis (6-1, 185, So) Chad Peppars (5-10, 189, Sr)

Where do you start when talking about this year's secondary? The corner back competition? John Boyett and how awesome he is at Safety? Eddie Pleasant's omnipresence and his move to SS/ROV? Or, the new guys that are going to be pushing the starters and returning guys, like Terrence Mitchell Dior Mathis, or Marcus Davis? There is too much here for me to even begin to cover what to expect from the secondary this fall. Instead I'm going to focus on what I think are going to be some of the most intriguing aspects.

CB Competition

TJ3 is pretty much a lock to be manning one of the corners this fall. Who is going to be covering the other is still up for debate. This titillating contest will most likely not be finished once fall camp wraps up and play begins in September. We could see a number of changes both in the starting line-up as well as during games as Aliotti and Neal try establish who will cover the other side of the field. The main players in this act are Anthony Gildon, Cliff Harris, Terrence Mitchell, Avery Patterson and don't count out Dior Mathis, Scott Grady or even Javes Lewis. That's seven different guys who all have a legitimate shot at starting or seeing significant playing time. You'd have to assume that Lewis, Gildon or Harris have the inside track given the experience they had last year playing the corner, but the new guys in Mitchell, Patterson and Mathis are most definitely not going to sit idly by and let one of them assume that position.

Eddie Pleasant at Safety

At first this move seemed to make sense due to Pleasant's size and the crop of outstanding linebackers that Oregon currently has. I'll argue that the move was because of way more than that. Pleasant is easily one of the fastest guys on the team (some say his only competition is from LMJ). That kind of speed demands space to play in, and moving Pleasant to Safety gives him more space to make plays with his speed. I also believe that moving Pleasant to Safety will allow Oregon to take the next step in their defensive evolution in using the 3-4 and 3-3-5 defense. Bringing confusion from the linebacker position gives the QB and O-line another thing to think about at the line of scrimmage. Bringing confusion from the LBs AND the Safety is damn near impossible to pick up. The problem is, to bring this type of confusion there will be times when the Safety needs to be near the LOS to bluff blitz and still be able to get back into coverage. You need someone that is fast; enter Eddie Pleasant (side note: you also need to have another Safety that has great coverage capabilities in case the SS blitzes because you are leaving only 3 guys deep. Hence, John Boyett's awesomeness). Don't be surprised to see Eddie playing all over the field both before the play as well as during the play. He'll line up on slots, deep in a cover 2, at the inside linebacker position as well as the outside linebacker position. We've joked about Pleasant being everywhere on the field in the past, only this year we'll finally get to see that.

There is way more to discuss when looking at the secondary this coming year, but I'll leave that to the posters. Here's a poll to get you started.

Go Ducks!