Jan 2, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks running back De

Pac-12 Conference Football Preview: Oregon Ducks (Part 1: Offense)

One year removed from playing for a National Championship, the Oregon Ducks came back in 2011 and had a pretty good year. The Ducks finished with an overall record of 12-2 and a Pac-12 record of 8-1 with the LSU Tigers and the USC Trojans being the only teams to defeat them. The nice 2011 run ended with the Ducks beating the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl by a score of 45-38 after the Badgers could not get a final play off as time expired.

Oregon’s 2011 season was anchored by it’s offense. Here’s a look at the averages they had per game and their rankings compared to the other schools in Division I:

  • Total: 522.8 yards (4th overall)
  • Passing: 230.9 yards (69th overall)
  • Rushing: 299.2 yards (5th overall)

Without a doubt, the biggest strength for the Ducks in 2011 was their rushing attack. Last season, the leader of the Oregon rushing attack was no other than LaMichael James. During his final season with the Ducks, James recorded 1,805 rushing yards on 247 attempts and eighteen rushing touchdowns. James was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2nd Round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

The 2012 season will have a much different look than last year when it comes to the running backs. That is because the Ducks will most likely have two running backs performing for them this season. Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas will be the two main running backs in 2012. Last season, Barner was the second running behind LaMichael James. Barner recorded 939 rushing yards on 152 attempts and eleven rushing touchdowns while Thomas recorded 595 rushing yards on 55 attempts and seven rushing touchdowns.

However, De’Anthony Thomas brings a different aspect to the Oregon backfield. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield. During his freshman year at Oregon, Thomas had 605 receiving yards on 46 receptions and nine receiving touchdowns. This is why Thomas is currently on the 2012 Heisman Watch list, but will most likely not win the award this season.

The Ducks will also be making changes to their quarterbacks this upcoming season with the departure of Darron Thomas. The man with the best shot to be Thomas’ replacement this season is Bryan Bennett. Last season as the back up quarterback, he recorded 369 passing yards on 25 completions and six passing touchdowns. He also had 200 rushing yards as well.

However, Bennett will have some competition in the quarterback position battle this offseason as Marcus Mariota, Dustin Haines, and Jake Rodrigues will want the same thing as Bennett in 2012. They all want to start for the Oregon Ducks.

In recent news, the Oregon wide receiving core also took a hit. As of August 20th, Chip Kelly announced that Justin Hoffman will forgo if senior senior on the advice of medical personnel. Hoffman recorded 133 receiving yards on ten receptions last season.

Click Here for a complete review of the Oregon Ducks wide receivers.

The Ducks will enter the 2012 season ranked #5 in the pre-season polls.

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Tags: Bryan Bennett De'Anthony Thomas Football Kenjon Barner Marcus Mariota Oregon Ducks

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