Tosh Lupoi is taking over an Oregon football defense with plenty of potential and as long as it remains healthy next season, it’ll be a problem.
New Oregon defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi is taking over a unit with some absolute “dudes” ready to get back to full strength.
The former Alabama assistant who spent the last year with the Jaguars in the NFL is an excellent defensive mind as well as a top-tier recruiter. He’s taking over for Tim DeRuyter and he might have something that his predecessor didn’t: a healthy defense.
While the offseason has just begun and it’s hard to say who will be healthy and who won’t, there’s a good chance that this group will heal up all offseason and be one of the Pac-12’s best in 2022.
At just about every position group, there are going to be some elite players and it’s going to be bad news for the rest of the Pac-12. The Ducks had to run out a mash unit against Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl with just one healthy scholarship linebacker left after Noah Sewell departed with an injury, and they still held on in the second half, allowing just 17 points.
With an entire offseason to get healthy, the Ducks should return guys like Sewell, Justin Flowe, Keith Brown, Keyon Ware-Hudson, and Steve Stephens. All of those guys were sidelined at some point this season and all would have had a huge impact on the defense.
Even Kayvon Thibodeaux was hurt and then opted out of the bowl game along with Mykael Wright in order to prepare for the NFL draft.
And if Oregon can return All-American safety Verone McKinley III, this defense is going to take a massive step in the right direction.
Sure, losing Thibodeaux and Wright will hurt, but the Ducks will have one of the best linebacking units in the country to go along with a top-tier secondary and improving defensive line — and don’t forget some solid 2022 signees.
This defense is going to cause problems for the Pac-12 in 2022 if it can remain healthy.