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"They'll be interesting because they hinge on an unknown at quarterback [fifth-year senior Dakota Prukop], but the last time that happened [with Vernon Adams in 2015], it turned out pretty well. Their tailback, Royce Freeman, is special and underappreciated. He's that unique combination of size, strength and speed, and he's just a flat-out stud. Their wideouts are good too, but Oregon wants to run the ball first; that's always been their M.O. Their tempo is an advantage too. When they first started playing with it, no one knew it or understood how to replicate it. Now eight teams in the conference run it, but Oregon is still going faster than everybody else.

New DC Brady Hoke is a big personality and a good coach. He'll be good for them. They're changing their scheme to a 4--3, but that staff has done a good job recruiting—kids still love the success and the uniforms—so they'll be able to figure out what their personnel is and use it to their advantage. But the first few games, no one can be sure what to expect. The secondary was young last year, so they should be better, but without [2015 Pac-12 defensive player of the year] DeForest Buckner, no one on the defense is scary."


Last year FCS transfer Matt Hegarty started at center, but he's gone and now JAKE HANSON, a 6'5", 288-pound redshirt freshman who played tackle at Eureka (Calif.) High, will have to handle the snapping and line calls. Hanson looked good in the spring, but how he functions in live game action will impact the Ducks' season.