It wasn’t long ago that Chip Kelly had taken the country by storm. Speed and a dynamic, game-changing offense had the Ducks riding high. The exciting offense, Nike jerseys and big name players had recruits clamoring to play for Oregon. Kelly left, Helfrich couldn’t keep it going and things floated towards good but not great. However that could be starting to change.
Changing The Mindset
The days of De’Anthony Thomas and LaMichael James are gone. However the new era, while looking different, could be the key to success. Oregon will have arguably the best offensive and defensive linemen in 2020.
Kayvon Thibodeaux was one of the best recruits in the country and the Freshman didn’t disappoint. Thibodeaux had nine sacks and a forced fumble in his first season for the Ducks. Not only was he a top Freshman in 2019, he was one of the very best pass rushers in the entire nation. He is also gifted on the football field as well as the classroom. Thibodeaux could have went anywhere in the country but fell in love with Oregon for both the football program and the academics. He is the perfect guy to build a defense around and will wreck havoc most every Saturday during the 2020 season.
On the other side of the ball is Penei Sewell. The Outland Trophy winner is the best offensive lineman in the entire country. You can argue other players but Sewell set records. He was the top-rated PFF offensive lineman in history(2014). Barring injury, he is a future first round draft pick and will be the anchor of the Oregon offensive line.
Building From Within
The SEC and the Big Ten have been the two conferences to dominate football in recent years. Both are built from the inside out. You can point out the stud athletes at skill positions or the speed of teams like Alabama or Ohio State. However at the end of the day it comes down to their excellent line play.
As Oregon gets further away from the Chip Kelly style offense, they need to build a strong interior. Mario Cristobal has done an great job doing that. Oregon had one of the best offensive lines in the entire country last season. It played a major role in a Pac-12 Championship and a Rose Bowl victory.
Looking ahead to 2020 is also promising. Herbert is gone but Oregon has never finished lower than third in Pac-12 recruiting. USC is a dumpster fire, Washington has a head coaching change, Utah loses a ton of talent and Stanford fell off the face of the Earth. Arizona State has plenty of promise, but overall Oregon is setting themselves up for a strong, dominating run.
To take it a step further, this Oregon defense could become one of the best in football. Thibodeaux is around for two more seasons and will get paired up with two, five star inside linebackers from the 2020 class.
Oregon is back and they will be crashing the playoff as soon as 2020.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.