With the biggest news coming out of the Oregon program provided by former head coach Mario Cristobal taking the job his alma mater, the University of Miami, . The Ducks then went after Dan Lanning, who put together the ferocious defense that spearheaded Georgia’s run to a national title last season.
Adding the former Auburn quarterback Bo Nix should help the Ducks be a more explosive passing team. Linebacker Noah Sewell could very well emerge into a Heisman Trophy candidate at some point during the 2022 season. With all the buzz about USC and the nation’s No. 1 rated class of transfers, do not overlook this Oregon team when focusing on title contenders in the Pac-12.
Oregon (+10000) is tied for 17th in the odds to win the national championship according to the sportsbook.
- 2021 record: 10-4
- 2021 conference record: 7-2
- Head coach: Dan Lanning
- Odds to win conference title: +275
Offense will be led by linemen T.J. Bass and Alex Forsyth. Bass split time starting at left guard and left tackle in 2021, while center Forsyth started nine games. They both earned preseason first-team All Pac-12 honors, and are on the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy. Ryan Walk is also back after making nine starts last season.
Some well-deserved recognition with fall camp right around the corner 👀🦆
13 Ducks have been named preseason all-Pac-12 selections, including four on the first team and four on the second team. #GoDucks
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) July 26, 2022
Leading rusher Troy Dye transferred to USC after his 1271 yards and 16 touchdowns (46 catches) a season ago. Perhaps a larger role for Byron Cardwell, leading the conference with an average of 6.8 yards per carry in 2021
Former Auburn star Bo Nix figures to take over at quarterback. Nix threw for more than 7000 yards while going 21-13 as a starter in the always-challenging Southeastern Conference. He had 39 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield are back after combining to complete 9-of-18 passes in a reserve role as freshmen.
Kris Hutson figures to top his marks of 31 catches and 419 receiving yards. Troy Franklin and Dont’e Ferguson are other top receivers returning in the program. Tight ends Terrance Ferguson, Spencer Webb and Moliki Matavao could be busier in 2022 after their total of 39 receptions a season ago. However, five of the top seven pass catchers from last season are not there, including leading receiver Devon Williams (35 catches, 557 yards).
Nix isn’t the only transfer who could make an impact on the offense.
Mar’Keise Irving had 699 rushing yards as a freshman at Minnesota. Receivers Caleb Chapman (13 catches in six games for Texas A&M) and Chad Cota (18 catches at UCLA in 2021) could see plenty of passes, too.
Five offensive linemen transferred, with Jonathan Denis and Logan Sagapolu accompanying Cristobal to Miami. Kingsley Suamataia, highest-rated offensive lineman in the transfer portal, landed at BYU.
Oregon had 25 players record at least 10 tackles last season. Ten of those were freshmen and nine sophomores, so there’s plenty of quality coming back, even with defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux going high in the 2022 NFL Draft (New York Giants) and second-leading tackler Verone McKinley signing with the Miami Dolphins after he wasn’t drafted.
Defensive end Brandon Dorius and linebacker Noah Sewell were both first team all-conference selections last season. Sewell finished second in the Pac-12 with 114 tackles to go with 8½ tackles for loss and four sacks. He has earned preseason All-American honors from the Walter Camp Foundation, the Sporting News and Phil Steele.
According to Pro Football Focus, Dorius led all Pac-12 interior linemen with a pass-rush grade of 82.3 and was second with an overall grade of 79.2.
Defense is welcoming back Justin Flowe, who had 14 tackles in the season opener before missing the rest of the season due to an injured foot.
Lineman Popo Aumavae (36 tackles, three tackles for loss) is another key returnee on defense.
Oregon did receive good news when safety Daymon David returned to the Ducks after putting his name in the transfer portal. David only had three tackles a season ago, but he’s being counted on in the secondary.
The D-line added Nebraska transfers Casey Rogers (17 tackles, three tackles for loss) and Jordon Riley, as well as former Washington lineman Sam Taimani (43 tackles, two tackles for loss).
Safety Christian Gonzalez was Colorado’s fifth-leading tackler as a redshirt freshman, three of his 53 tackles coming in a game against the Ducks.
Oregon added kicker Andrew Boyle (Washington State) and punter Adam Barry (42-yard average at Temple).
What a way for the Dan Lanning era to start in Oregon, with the former Georgia defensive coordinator squaring off against the Bulldogs in the season opener.
It is always hard to project what the offense will look like when a defensive-minded assistant coach takes over a program. Lanning is well aware of what Nix is bringing, since both came to Eugene from the SEC. There’s no reason Oregon shouldn’t be a much improved passing team.
Oregon lost seven more transfers than it imported, so it remains to be seen how much the Ducks miss those departed players
Oregon had the top-ranked recruiting classes in the Pac-12 in each of the last three seasons, so the roster has quality. Linebacker Devon Jackson and cornerback Jahlil Florence are the incoming freshmen with the top grades, so we’ll see whether they get to contribute.
Oregon comes into the season with an expected regular-season win total of 8½, according to college football predictions. Currently, it’s at -140 to go over that bar.
Something to consider for those who bet online, Oregon dropped three of its last four games last season, then failed to cover in each of those losses, too.
Oregon doesn’t meet preseason Pac-12 favorite USC during the season, although a date in the Pac-12 title game is certainly a possibility. Games against UCLA and Utah figure to be the Ducks’ toughest conference tests, with both at home.
- Sept. 3 vs. Georgia (at Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta)
- Sept. 10 vs Eastern Washington
- Sept. 17 vs Brigham Young
- Sept. 24 at Washington State
- Oct. 1 vs Stanford
- Oct. 8 at Arizona
- Oct. 22 vs UCLA
- Oct. 29 at California
- Nov. 5 at Colorado
- Nov. 12 vs Washington
- Nov. 19 vs Utah
- Nov. 26 at Oregon State