Losing Justin Herbert after the 2019 season hurt Oregon football as much as everyone could have expected.
The offense was a shell of itself in 2020, averaging about 412 yards per game which was good for just 49th in the country and it was behind Arizona State, UCLA, Stanford, USC, and Colorado. Averaging just the sixth-most yards per game in the Pac-12 is very un-Oregon-like, but the Ducks return a ton of talent and production in 2021.
There are some question marks on offense, especially at quarterback, as Tyler Shough has moved on to Texas Tech, but the Ducks bring back Anthony Brown to battle it out with Robby Ashford, Jay Butterfield, and Ty Thompson. Depth is not lacking at quarterback.
At running back, the Ducks return two of the best rushers in the country in CJ Verdell and Travis Dye who may just make up the best duo in college football.
The receiving corps is loaded. This might be the best position on the team right now with Mycah Pittman, Johnny Johnson III, Jaylon Redd, Devon Williams, Kris Hutson, Josh Delgado, Isaah Crocker, Dont’e Thornton, and Troy Franklin. Add in Spencer Webb, Patrick Herbert, and Terrance Ferguson at tight end and this group has the potential to be the best collection of pass-catchers in the country.
Penei Sewell is off to the NFL with the Detroit Lions but Oregon played without him last season and adjusted to life after the All-American. George Moore is the veteran leader up front and he’ll be backed up by a talented five-star in Kingsley Suamataia who might just be the next Penei. TJ Bass, Alex Forsyth, Ryan Walk, and Steven Jones round out the experienced group.
Suffice to say, Oregon has one of the most talented offenses returning in 2021.
Where will Oregon football rank in offensive production?
As mentioned earlier, the Ducks were just 49th in total yards per game last season but they were down Sewell, Verdell was injured, the receivers weren’t as good as they are now, and the quarterback situation was iffy, at best.
Ranking sixth in the Pac-12 in yards per game was a little surprising and I could see them up at the top of the conference this season with USC, UCLA, and Arizona State. I actually believe the Ducks will have the best offense of that bunch despite USC and Arizona State having potential first-round NFL quarterbacks back.
If Oregon has good luck at the quarterback position and the right guy eventually takes the job in the early weeks of the season, the Ducks could and should have a top-five offense nationally.
Sure, there will likely be Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, and Oklahoma up there near the top but there’s no reason this talented and deep group of players shouldn’t be in that top 5-10 range.
This is Mario Cristobal’s most talented offense yet.