Friday, June 17, 2011

A glass half full view of the Oregon Secondary

Couple of things, moving forward from the Cliff Harris suspension:

Cliff will probably avoid an NCAA sanction, and Chip will give him every opportunity to make this right, climb his academic and behavioral ladders. If he were to miss one or two games, the impact on Oregon's season could be minimal, and the impact on Harris' future and maturation could be measurable. 

Kash could be the next Deion Sanders, the next Pac Man Jones, or the next Jackie Bates.  It's still up to him.  Nobody is giving up on him, particularly Duck fans.

For secondary coach John Neal, his greatest strength right now is depth in competition.  Terrance Mitchell, Dior Mathis, Troy Hill, Scott Grady and Avery Patterson all want that spot, and they're all good athletes.  Hill is a good hitter.  Grady and Patterson have done good things in spot duty and special teams.  The fastest defensive back during winter testing?  Cliff Harris, right?  No, Scott Grady, 4.73 in 2010,  Dior Mathis beat six teammates in a "Football 60" exhibition race at the 2010 Oregon Twilight Meet, and he's run the 100 in 10.71. 

The point is, there is a lot of talent left on the roster.  Mathis was a consensus 4-star recruit out of Detroit, rated the 9th-best cornerback in the nation by ESPN.  Patterson had 19 tackles last season.  He has two full seasons in the program, and in high school he was another 10.7 100 guy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Jordan Jefferson isn't Andrew Luck.   His breakout performance in the Cotton Bowl?   10-19 passing 157 yards, 67 yards rushing.  Last season he had one 200-yard passing game all year, 254 against Jeremiah Masoli and Ole Miss.  Tiger fans are optimistic about his potential, thinking he could blossom as a senior under new offensive coordinator Dave Kragthorpe, but all potential means is you haven't done anything yet.

The Duck secondary has more potential than the LSU quarterbacks.  And a teacher with a longer and better track record.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if a lot of long time Duck fans, like myself, tend to suffer flashbacks to the time when disaster struck Oregon from the loss of a single standout player. In the past, we haven't had the depth to overcome a serious blow to one of our marquee men on the field.

    Thanks for reminding me that while Cliff was definitely exciting to watch, we do have a wealth of talent in the DB spot and I believe (and hope) that one of the talented young men steps up and grabs that spot and hangs on.