Eastern Washington vs Oregon Ducks: Three Things I’ll Be Watching


Well, the 2015 College Football season is here. It feels like it has been too long since writing one of these posts, but it is good to be back covering the Oregon Ducks for my fourth year. This will be my first game covering Oregon Ducks without Marcus Mariota at the helm. However, his brother will make an appearance on the Defensive side of the ball. So, everyone is already talking about EWU Transfer Vernon Adams. He is clearly the main storyline for this game. An area of focus this season will be the Defense. After losing NFL caliber talent in Ifo Ekpre Olomu, the role of leader now turns to Rodney Hardrick to lead a young Defensive backfield.

Saturday may be an easier proposition to get through than the game next week in a hostile Michigan State crowd in East Lansing. Adams has plenty of weapons at his disposal with likely the best Wide Receiver group in the Pac-12 Conference. Bralon Addison returns to the field following a year away recovering from surgery. He will be the lead for kickoff and punt returns on Saturday at Autzen Stadium. So, plenty to sort through and focus on for the first game. Here are the three things I will be looking at as the season begins for the Oregon Ducks.

1. Quarterback Vernon Adams Takes Over the Offense

Oregon Ducks Transfer Adams had two weeks of Fall Camp and was named the Starter over a guy who has three years in the system. Backup Jeff Lockie has been in that role in what seems like forever behind Marcus Mariota. Adams takes over the keys from a Heisman Trophy winner and through a video breakdown, has shown how he can be very Mariota-like with the ball. Some of his passes actually looked better. He can throw into tight spaces, which in the Pac-12 will be a benefit. If he has a good game today, the Heisman talk could begin as early as next week for the Transfer Senior. One game at a time.

2. Running Back Has Freeman, No Tyner – Who Will Be The ‘Next Man Up’

Last season, Freeman broke records. He rushed for over twenty touchdowns in the Pac-12 as a Freshman. The Running Back role may have lost a step with the loss of Thomas Tyner, but Kani Benoit will get the opportunity as the backup, followed by some big talent in Taj Griffin and Tony Brooks-James should see the field today. If the Oregon Ducks are going to compete, the backup needs to be a 1B to Freeman’s 1B. Benoit get the opportunity today, but if Oregon had a 1C it would make things even more interesting this season. Who steps up and works toward becoming a household name?

3. Defensive Backfield: Hardrick Takes Lead Of Talented and Young Group

Every year there seems to be a question that arises concerning the Oregon Ducks Defense, and this year is no different. Rodney Hardrick takes over from Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, and has a few additional games from last season under his belt in the College Football Playoff against Florida State and Ohio State. He will be joined by Ugo Amadi, recent offense to defense mover Ty Griffin, and Chris Seisay.

Oregon begins their season against Eastern Washington at 5pm Pacific Time hosting Eastern Washington at Autzen Stadium(5pm PT, Pac-12 Networks)

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