Quick Quacks

SO FAR THIS SPRING… <p> The most frequent observation during the sessions I've attended so far this spring center around Dante Rosario. From field level his combination of size, speed, moves and hands are impressive. Whatever wrinkles the new offensive philosophy adds to the existing playbook, it would be folly to not place an emphasis on getting the ball in his hands. A BIG emphasis.

Lined up in the backfield or set on the perimeter as the H-back, he is a handful for a linebacker to defend and would be a nightmare to any secondary that found him within their midst. The receiving corps has also attracted attention. Transfer wide-out James Finley has been impressive, good hands, good size and more than willing to lower his shoulder into the nearest defender. Brian Paysinger also has shown himself to be very capable of contributing at this level. Cameron Colvin, Kyle Weatherspoon and Demetrius Williams are having solid spring practices but only Williams should feel secure about his playing time, the newcomers will press hard for Colvin's and Weatherspoon's snaps. An under-performing group last season it appears the Ducks will be able to field a deep and versatile stable of receivers this fall. If able to make the transition from the practice field to game day, a more consistent passing game offers fewer third and long situations - helping to sustain drives and to limit the number of quarterback sacks allowed.

. SPEAKING OF KELLEN

The new offense is a system that does play to several of his strengths. It may be his best hedge toward an inexperienced offensive line and Kellen has a stronger, more accurate arm when he's on the move. I don't know if he can hit a curveball… but I'll wager he's a heck of a shortstop.

Looking to the fall, the first year of this "Duckwing" spread offense should give the rest of the conference quite a lot to decipher and force them to decipher it quite quickly. One week of a scout team running their best attempt at this system won't allow opposition defenses much of a comfort level in defending something this unique to the Pac-10.

While it would be a stretch to say that Oregon's offense the past couple of years had become predictable, it is clear that in the least it became more familiar to the opposition. In business and industry "product redesigns" are routine exercises as the competition emulates your successes and in effect this is exactly what the Ducks have found to be necessary.

My sense is this shift in offensive philosophy is equally, if not more, targeted toward the next few years as Dennis Dixon steps into a full time role. From every angle, this kid and this offense could be nothing less than frightening. The usual cautionary note about the distance between potential and scoreboard duly noted, Dixon's quickness and foot speed will isolate the perimeter defense and create mismatches where there is little opportunity for the defense to force the play back toward the middle of the field.

Although by then a catalog of film will exist for opponents to use in developing a defensive game plan, Dixon's athleticism and this offense will severely challenge any defense however familiar it may be with this playbook.

CAVEAT EMPTOR…

The majority of snaps during spring practice have been in the shotgun formation and too frequently the ball has been poorly centered or mishandled by the QB. The option pitch has also hit the carpet too frequently. This would be an Achilles heel to the Duckwing as turnovers are the quickest and surest means of short-circuiting this offense. If ball handling is not consistently error free - or very nearly so – offensive drives will stall and the defense will be given too many short fields to defend. As the Indiana game clearly demonstrated last season, that is a quick way to lose a football game.

Be sure to look for spring practice updates during the week here on eDuck.com, we will do our best to keep you up to date as we work toward the spring scrimmage.

Till the next time…



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