2004 Oregon Ducks Football Season Preview

<b>Head Coach:</b> <A HREF=http://scout.TheInsiders.com/a.z?s=128&p=8&c=1&nid=742066>Mike Bellotti</A> (10th year, 45-27, 75-33 overall) <br><br> <b>Last Season's Record:</b> 8-5 (5-3, T-3rd in Pac-10) <br><br> <b>Last Bowl Appearance:</b> 2003 Sun Bowl (31-30 loss to <A HREF=http://minnesota.TheInsiders.com>Minnesota</A>) <br><br> <b>Key matchup(s):</b> Sept. 18 at <A HREF=http://oklahoma.TheInsiders.com>Oklahoma</A>, ABC; Nov. 6 at Cal, TBD.

Star Power: Kellen Clemens, QB, Jr., 6-2, 210; Demetrius Williams, WR, Jr., 6-2, 193; Terrence Whitehead, RB, 5-10, 210; Haloti Ngata, DT, So., 6-5, 345; Marley Tucker, S, Sr., 6-0, 193, Jared Siegel, K, Sr., 5-10, 189.

Notable Additions: Cameron Colvin, WR, De La Salle HS, 6-1, 193; Willie Glasper, CB, De La Salle HS, 5-10, 180; Terrance Kelly, LB, De La Salle HS, 5-11, 210; Jackie Bates, CB, De La Salle HS, 5-10, 185; David Faaeteete, DT, North Medford HS, 6-3, 303; Aaron Klovas, OL, Spanaway HS, 6-6, 300; Jaison Williams, WR, Culver City HS, 6-4, 215; Terrell Jackson, RB, Corona HS, 5-9, 190.

Notable Subtractions: Kevin Mitchell, Igor Olshansky, Junior Siavii, Keith Lewis, Samie Parker, and Jason Fife, all drafted or signed by NFL teams.

Notable Returnees: Robby Valenzuela, DT, Sr., 6-2, 303; Jerry Matson, Sr., LB, 6-1, 225; Adam Snyder, OL, Sr., 6-6, 320; Nick Steitz, OL, Sr., 6-4, 319; Tim Day, TE, Jr., 6-4, 267; Dante Rosario, FB, So., 6-4, 247.

10/02/04Arizona State
10/09/04@Washington State
11/20/04@Oregon State
Offensive Overview: Oregon will look to have a solid pro style offense again this year led by Kellen Clemens (304-182-9, 19 touchdowns, 2400 yards, and 139.80 efficiency rating). Demetrius Williams broke out last year with 51 catches for 935 and eight touchdowns while Tim Day is a huge target (6-4, 247) and had 23 catches for 323 yards and four touchdowns. The senior dominated line anchored by Adam Snyder and Nick Steitz look to open holes for tailback back by committee.

Terrence Whitehead, who had 737 yards and six touchdowns last season, leads the running backs. Seniors Kenny Washington (39-139 yards, one touchdown) and Ryan Shaw (42-182 yards) bring experience and sophomore Chris Vincent (56-182 yards) is a player that Bellotti has high hopes for. Add into the fray incoming freshmen Terrell Jackson and T.R. Smith, and the Ducks appear very deep at running back. Bellotti has said that junior fullback Dante Rosario will have more carries this season and with newcomer Jerome Johnson, the fullback position will be an added blocking, running and pass catching weapon.

Oregon's key to success has been its ability to set up the pass with the run. Demetrius Williams (6-2, 193), Garren Strong (6-3, 185), Bryan Paysinger (6-2, 193), Kyle Weatherspoon (6-1, 189), Marcus Maxwell (6-5, 205), Keith Allen (6-1, 205) and Jordan Carey (5-11, 200) all make Oregon's receiving corps is very fast and tall.. TheInsiders.com rated Colvin (6-1, 193) 5-Stars and Jaison Williams has been compared to Jerry Rice.

Along with Day, the tight end position is well manned with senior Eddie Whitaker (6-4, 250) and sophomore Dan Kause (6-4, 245).

Defensive Overview: The Ducks look to stop the run with a big, aggressive defensive line featuring Haloti Ngata, who is recovered from an injury. The strength of the defense may be the secondary as the often-burned unit of two years ago, now is mature and experienced. The biggest question about the Ducks defense is the depth and experience at linebacker.

The Ducks lost two huge defensive tackles last season to the NFL (Igor Olshansky and Junior Siavii) but Ngata is back along with Robby Valenzuela, a defensive tackle playing at full speed on all snaps. Matt Toeaina (6-3, 282) had a very good spring on the interior defensive line. David Faaeteete plays similarly to Valenzuela and is ready to play as a true freshman. Defensive end junior Devan Long (6-4, 265) is emerging as a leader on the defense and could merit post season honors this season. Former 5-Star JC transfer Chris Solomona (6-5, 288) is the other defensive end who seemed to be around the ball on each play during the spring workouts. Sophomore Darius Sanders (6-5, 275) had his moments but needs consistency in practice to see more game time.

Jerry Matson leads the linebackers. Juniors Ramon Reed (6-2, 226) and Anthony Trucks (6-1, 231) are the other starters. Junior Justin Andrews (6-1, 240) and freshman Ramond White (6-4, 223), seniors Marcus Miller (6-2, 223) and converted quarterback Scott Vossmeyer (6-4, 223) round out the experienced linebackers. Incoming players Terrance Kelly and Ryan Phipps could easily see playing time as true freshmen.

The defensive backfield led by Marley Tucker has several cornerback lettermen including juniors Justin Phinisee (5-11, 199), Marques Binns (5-11, 163), Aaron Gipson (5-9, 175) and senior Rodney Woods (5-10, 185) will rotate as starters. Redshirt freshman Ryan Gilliam (5-9, 168) has major speed and combined with Willie Glasper and Jackie Bates big things are ahead for Oregon's future. Sophomore JD Nelson (5-11, 205) could be the best athlete in the secondary. Terrance Kelly could see time as a safety next season.

Special Teams Overview: Jared Siegel was 13-for-19 in field goal kicking and a perfect 45-of-45 for PATs. The punting game is improved as sophomore Paul Martinez has developed more consistency over last season.

The return game should be exciting featuring first team All Pac-10 performer Washington along with the exciting Gilliam, Gipson and Phinisee. Oregon success in the Bellotti era has had a lot to do with special teams able to produce good field position and this years special teams promise to be the best since the 2001 season.

The Oregon Ducks believe they are at least a nine-win team... and based on a favorable home schedule including ASU, Arizona, Washington and UCLA that feeling is well justified. The Ducks play Oregon State in Corvallis in the Civil War and Cal at Berkeley, but the depth of Oregon's roster and the fact Bellotti is a reinvigorated coach after resolving personal issues last year will be the Ducks big edge. Additionally, Clemens is now fully installed at quarterback and during the spring the cowboy from Eastern Oregon was in complete control of a potent and versatile offense.

The Ducks do not play USC this season. Oklahoma will be an early big test, but Oregon may be the best team the Sooners will face this season.

TheInsiders.com 2004 College Football Preview
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