Darren Carrington had a breakout year in 2014, particularly at the end of the season when he had seven catches for 126 yards and a touchdown in the Pac-12 Championship game against Arizona. He followed that up with a spectacular game against Florida State in the Rose Bowl, again catching seven passes including two touchdowns, that literally blew the game open.
Disaster struck for Carrington though. Just before the team headed off to Dallas, Texas for the National Championship game against Ohio State, Carrington was ruled ineligible for competition for violation of the NCAA Drug Policy. Reports indicted that he would not only miss the Championship game, but that he would also miss up to six games in the 2015 season.
Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich was asked at the Pac-12 Media Day last Friday about Carrington's status, but coach had no insight about what might happen.
"Nothing has changed," responded Helfrich to the question of Carrington's eligibility. "That's an interesting deal."
Oregon has not yet heard back from the NCAA as to what will be the penalty for the upcoming year. If Carrington's penalty is six games or is shortened, when he returns he will be one more weapon in the Ducks arsenal. Along with Dwayne Stanford, Bralon Addison, Byron Marshall and Devon Allen, Carrington makes Oregon one of the most explosive receiving corps in the country. Allen of course is not expected to be available until at least the middle of the season, but there has been high hopes that redshirt freshman Jalen Brown along with freshmen Alex Ofodile, Malik Lovette and Kirk Merritt will add depth to the talented pass catching group.
The other question of course it who will be the quarterback, Jeff Lockie or Vernon Adams?
Adams has not yet enrolled in school, though there are indications that he is taking a course through the Community Education Program. Grades for summer classes come out on August 12, so if he successfully passes the course and then Eastern Washington issues his degree which will allow Adams to enroll in the Oregon School of Business as a grad student, Adams could start practicing during the first week of fall camp.
Lockie of course was Marcus Mariota's back-up last year and should he be named starter, he would start his first game as a Duck against Adams' old team, Eastern Washington.
Adams threw for over 10,000 yards as an Eagle in three years and his passing numbers were astonishingly similar to Mariota's over the course of three years.
The two questions may not be answered for some time yet. Likely not at Oregon's media day, and possibly on Wednesday, Aug. 12th, some more light will be shed on how soon Adams could take the practice field.
Until then, the two questions will remain the biggest for Oregon's 2015 squad.