Last season, Oregon defensive end Henry Mondeaux was awarded the Joe Schaffeld Trophy for his outstanding play on the defensive line. The annual honor is given to the team’s Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman.
We are just 36 days away from Oregon’s first game against Southern Utah on Saturday, September 2 at Autzen Stadium.
Here are my projections for the defensive and offensive starters of Willie Taggart’s 2017-18 team. Let’s get caught up with what you missed:
JIM LEAVITT’S 11
SAFETY - Brenden Schooler (Monday)
CORNERBACK - Arrion Springs (Tuesday)
LINEBACKER - Troy Dye (Wednesday)
DEFENSIVE TACKLE - Scott Pagano (Thursday)
STARTING DEFENSIVE END, HENRY MONDEAUX
The Portland product started all 12 games last season. Mondeaux tallied 35 tackles, 12 solo and four for a loss. He recorded one sack in 802 total snaps on the field in 2016-17.
With the addition of new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, the defense will transition back to a 3-4 formation. Mondeaux should be affected by generating more double coverage this season. That should free up his teammates to make plays. Defensive tackle Scott Pagano will be facing a similar situation.
The 6-foot-5 end is very intelligent and that was illustrated when he was the recipient of the Academic All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2015. His intelligence will be a useful asset amid a very young and inexperienced defensive unit.
During the 2017 Spring Game, Mondeaux registered three solo tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack. Even with minimal snaps, that would have been good enough for a career performance if it occurred during the season.
Mondeaux explained his offseason improvement to Oregon Live’s Jen Beyrle following his stellar spring.
“I think we made some good steps,” said Mondeaux. “We have things in place to get better throughout the offseason. I think we’re in a good spot. We learned from the whole spring. Definitely more energy. A lot of energy from the new coaching staff.”
The PDX native has more responsibility on his massive shoulders this year. He will play a pivotal role for Leavitt and the defense.
THE FINAL VERDICT
The defense should be on the field less this season, therefore Mondeaux’s numbers should be relatively conservative. He will amass 33 overall tackles, 15 solo and 3.5 for loss. Mondeaux will sack the quarterback a career-high 5.5 times, including five pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
Addionally, he will block one field goal attempt to preserve a win for the Ducks. Mondeaux will provide energy and length as a constant disruptive force on the line. His presence alongside Pagano will help the secondary limit big-play opportunities.