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A Look at the Oregon Depth Chart: Cornerbacks

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Let's have a staring contest
Let's have a staring contest

Overview:

I thought about doing a post on the complete secondary, but I realized there are a number of questions that need to be addressed with both the safeties and corners so I'm making it two posts.

Last year the corner position looked rather locked down with starters Anthony Gildon and Cliff Harris returning. Unfortunately, Gildon was lost to injury part way through the season and Harris was lost to, umm... Luckily, there was depth, while inexperienced, there was still depth behind them. Red-shirt freshmen Terrance Mitchell, Troy Hill and true frosh Ifo Ekpre-Olomu were forced to step up. Mitchell matured quickly becoming a lock down corner for the Ducks. In Oregon's heart-breaking loss to USC, Mitchell told Aliotti and Neal that he wanted to guard Robert Woods full time instead of his usual cover one side. Mitchell is also the guy that made the exciting strip on Abbrederis in the Rose Bowl.

Hill and Ekpre-Olomu ended up splitting time at the other corner position. While an inch shorter, Ekpre-Olomu is the more physical corner and was second on the team in passes broken up. Hill struggled at times last year, but ended up 11th on the team in tackles.

Questions:

There aren't a lot of questions at the corner position except for Hill and Ekpre-Olomu. Expect each guy to get his shot on the field, but this battle most likely won't be settled for a couple of weeks into the season. Also, Oregon has struggled the last couple of years in keeping their corners healthy. As a matter of fact, Oregon has had to go 4 deep at the corner every year since 2008. That might mean that Dior Mathis needs to be ready to go. Mathis flirted with switching to WR last year, but is permanently back at the corner going into next season. What Mathis will be able to contribute is a huge question mark right now.

Projection:

Mitchell should have another outstanding year and will compete for all conference honors. Keeping the corners healthy should be a big concern for the Ducks and hopefully we see few of them on special teams this year as there is not as much depth this year as in years past.