Some Questions Hanging Over Ducks

For questions heading into the 2009 season I could have asked about the starters leaving on both lines. Or the loss of such players like Reed, Unger, Johnson, and Chung.

(Courtesy of bleacher report)

No, my list consists of a few other things.

1. Coaching Carousel

The plan is in place, I just wish we knew when the plan was going to happen. The consensus seems to be either this season or next for head coach Mike Bellotti to step down and have offensive coordinator, Chip Kelly take over.

I have to believe there is some amount of distraction here. Not knowing who your coach will be come September.

Maybe the players and staff already know when it is going to happen and it isn't as big an issue as it seems.

2. Quarterback Health and Depth Chart

Over the last two seasons, seven different quarterbacks have seen the field for Oregon.

Dennis Dixon had Oregon looking like it was headed to the National Championship game in 2007. Since his knee injury, Oregon fans have been left playing the "what if" game.

Nate Costa was set to start in 2008 but injured his knee again before the season. He has had problems with the same knee since high school. He wasn't even included in the quarterback count that saw the field.

Justin Roper had filled in nicely in 2007. In the games he played a major part in, Oregon narrowly lost the Civil War and won the Sun Bowl.

Roper stepped up again to start in 2008. He left early against Washington but started against Utah State and Purdue, both wins. He did not finish the Purdue game.

Jeremiah Masoli stepped in and Oregon went 7-3 with him as the starter. He started the Boise State game but only made it through the first quarter before being sidelined with a concussion.

For the 2009 competition, Masoli made a solid case for himself through his on the field play. Costa wasn't named the starter at the beginning of 2008 for no reason. Roper, who isn't as mobile as the other two, has proven he can play. There is also the younger guys like Darron Thomas who had his red shirt pulled and almost helped Oregon comeback against Boise State.

3. Opening at Boise State

It doesn't really matter if it is the first game or the last game, going to Boise to play on the blue turf is no easy task.

Boise State has a record of 64-2 at home since 1999. It wasn't just all WAC teams either.

The last time Oregon played a season opener on the road, they won. This was in 2005 when they beat Houston, 38-24.

4. Handling The Pac-10 Schedule

Say what you will about the Pac-10, going through undefeated isn't the easy task some believe. Sure, USC did it a couple of times, but it has been three seasons since they have done it.

Oregon gets the projected top teams in the conference at home. That's Cal, USC, and Oregon State for those of you that didn't know.

It's no secret that USC is the team to beat in Pac-10. They have been for years and probably will be for a while longer. Oregon lost big to USC last year in Los Angeles, but beat the Trojans the last time they played in Autzen.

Oregon has struggled with California for a few years now, home and away. Oregon hasn't beat Cal since 2005.

The Civil War was won by the home team from 1997-2006. The two games since have been won by the visiting team. Oregon needs to hope this isn't the start of a new streak.

Washington State and Arizona State are the other home games. Neither team was much of a challenge in 2008.

The road schedule includes UCLA, Washington, Stanford, and Arizona.

UCLA is a question mark with the new coaching regime going into year two.

I can't imagine Washington will have an immediate turn around under Sarkisian but they do still have Jake Locker.

Stanford has already shown improvement with Harbaugh as coach.

Arizona lost some key players but is always dangerous at home late in the season.

5. Junior College Transfers

It's a quick way to add to the depth chart and some can step in right away and make a difference. Masoli and Blount were both JC transfers and the impact is obvious.

Actually, my concern isn't about on the field stuff, it's with qualifying.

There is always anticipation for these recruits but they have to make it into school first. It has been an issue in the past. This year some commits went elsewhere after failing to qualify. Hopefully the other ones Oregon signed will make it in as some are expected to fill in some holes right away.

To read more opinions on Oregon Ducks Football go to bleacher report


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