Friday, April 8, 2011

Ducks Need Barner to Blossom in 2011

To give Oregon's offense the balance and counterpunch to defeat the California Blueprint, Darron Thomas needs a number one target, or two or three that are pretty reliable.

Regardless of how serious Josh Huff's injury is, Kenjon Barner is a huge key to the success of the Oregon passing game.

In Maehl and Davis, the Ducks have to replace 119 receptions and 1500 yards. Barner is versatile and explosive, and needs more touches in the offense.  Last year he was slated for a bigger role but his season got derailed by the head injury at Washington State.

Sturdier and more filled out than last season, at 5-11, 180, the Oregon speedster has to get more comfortable running routes and taking the ball over his shoulder.  He needs to feel confident running crossing routes and hitch screens.  Because if they can get the ball to him for five, he can turn it into 50.

With so many question marks at receiver, and a lack of veteran depth, Barner could be a formidable answer.  He's as fast or faster than Josh Huff or James Rodgers, as good an open-field runner as anyone in the conference.  Keenan Howry was 5-10, 178 and ran a 4.56 40.  Barner has all of Howry's athletic ability, and he's a step faster.  Hands can be learned.  It's will, courage, repetition, and practice. 

Thomas and Barner need to spend some serious time running pass routes this summer.  If the junior TAZR has thoughts of playing after college, his future is as a third-down back, and that means developing reliable hands.  The two of them need to develop the confidence and chemistry to become a passing combination.  The Ducks have a huge hole to fill in the passing game, and these two are among the leaders on the team.  Leaders lead.  They solve problems, and show the way to success.

Get to work, guys.  Make yourselves better football players.  Your team needs you. 

Maybe the next time Ahmad Rashad passes through town, he can spend an hour or two talking football with young Kenjon, talk a little about the running back/receiver hybrid and transitioning from one to the other.  Rashad,  one of the best athletes in Webfoot historycaught 6800 yards of passes in the NFL, for 44 touchdowns and four trips to the Pro Bowl.  He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.  Pretty good credentials for a mentor, you'd think.

Kenjon Barner 2010 highlights, from Mad Mike 1951:


  1. Amen to this post. I've thought the same thing about KB and our offense.

  2. GD58,

    It might be outlandish to say this, but I think Barner could be a game-changer in the TAZR role with a full healthy season. I think he could have an impact like Johnnie Rodgers or Raghib Ishmael, a truly dynamic player who could produce a dozen touchdowns and 15-20 big plays.

    He has a burst, a flair for the dramatic, great cutback ability and good vision. Getting him fully involved in the offense for all thirteen games could be the move that makes this year's team one dimension better than last season.

    Great to hear from you, and thanks for your comment.