It’s a hard name to say, but get ready to say it a lot. Sophomore cornerback Ifo Expre-Olomu is becoming a huge player on the defensive side of the ball, a component that could help the woes of losing safety John Boyett for the season.
Pronounced “ee-fo eck-pray-olo-moo,” the 5-foot-10, 182-pound defensive back ties Brian Johnson for the most tackles on the team so far with 12 (six in both games). An edge he has is that unlike Johnson who has five assists, every tackle has been on Ekpre-Olomu’s own. He’s also added two pass deflections and forced two fumbles – one of each in both games.
Ekpre-Olomu has already reached over a third of what he accomplished last year as a freshman. He finished with 34 tackles (23 solo), one of the assists was a tackle for loss, broke up eight passes, and forced zero turnovers.
Not only is Ekpre-Olomu the lead defensive back, but the lead overall player. Obviously, Dion Jordan will be taking the role of leader if he hasn’t already since Boyett will be gone, but hopefully more defensive players will begin to emerge to shine some light on a defense that’s ranked just 94th overall after two weeks.
Yes, that defensive ranking is led by TCU who’s played just one game and gave up only 70 yards to an awful Grambling team, but that mark is also tied with Washington State at 447.5 yards given up on average. The Cougars aren’t necessarily stopping anybody either, and if they had near the offensive production the Ducks have had, would be sitting at 2-0 as well.
It’s not panic mode yet for the Ducks, and promising players like Ekpre-Olomu help the confidence that this team will overcome some injuries and have a tremendous season.
Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Autzen Zoo. See his banter with other FanSided writers and love for his favorite west coast professional teams by following him on Twitter.