Once again, the Oregon Ducks have the college football world’s attention. Last season they looked like a playoff caliber team following their upset of Ohio State. But they lost steam as the games went on leading up to Mario Cristobal’s departure for Miami.
Now in 2022, the question is: Can Dan Lanning keep the momentum going?
On Monday Sporting News football writer Bill Bender released his post-transfer portal deadline top 25. He had the Ducks ranked No. 9 behind the Utah Utes (10-4) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-2).
Here’s what Bender had to say about the Ducks.
What changed? Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning took over as head coach, and Auburn quarterback Bo Nix transferred to Oregon. Colorado safety Christian Gonzalez was among the other gains from the transfer portal. The Ducks lost leading rusher Travis Dye to USC.
Lowdown: The quarterback battle between Nix and Ty Thompson has yet to be resolved. Byron Cardwell steps into a feature role in the backfield, and a young group of receivers that includes Troy Franklin and Seven McGee. The defense returns Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe, a pair of potential first-round picks. The opener at Georgia will be telling.
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Oregon Ducks CB Christian Gonzalez
Cornerback Christian Gonzalez goes through warmups during spring practice.
Oregon Ducks RB Byron Cardwell
Running back Byron Cardwell runs for a touchdown against the Colorado Buffaloes.
Oregon Ducks Quarterback Ty Thompson
Ty Thompson during Oregon Ducks spring practice in Eugene.
Lanning has done a solid job addressing the needs on Oregon’s roster. He needed to bring in a veteran quarterback, if not to start at least to bolster the roster and add experience to an entirely unproven and young room.
He’s also bolstered Oregon’s depth at wide receiver with Chase Cota and interior defensive line with names like Sam Taimani, Jordon Riley and Casey Rogers. Cornerback is still very thin, but Christian Gonzalez projects as a plug-and-play caliber player in Lanning’s defense.
Only time will tell how this team will look once it hits the field on Sept. 3 against the defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs, but quarterback remains a significant question mark until we see how Nix, should he win the job, performs against another team under new Offensive Coordinator Kenny Dillingham.
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