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Oregon looking to be a tougher competitor in 2014

Marcus Mariota Getty Images

Oregon’s offense used to be compared to a video game offense, but nobody is making those comparisons this spring in Eugene.

“It’s not as easy as you might think,” senior receiver Keanon Lowe said after the first practice of spring, per The Oregonian. “It’s not like a video game where you can plug and play.”

Don’t get caught off guard. Oregon’s offensive numbers did not fall off a giant cliff last season after losing Chip Kelly to the NFL and seeing Mark Helfrich step in as head coach, but the Ducks lost twice last season and were reduced to playing in a non-BCS bowl for the first time since the 2008 season. The pedigree of the program took a minor hit but it will not take much to strike back in Helfrich’s second season at the helm. This spring Helfrich is coaching a team is focusing on stepping things up from a competition standpoint, perhaps preparing the Ducks for a fight back to the top of the Pac 12 in 2014.

“I’m really really excited about the competitive nature of how things are going,” Helfrich said. “Execution is up and down in every phase but I think the effort and the communication, our competitiveness, is really good.”

One of the positives going for Oregon this spring is continuity. As The Oregonian notes, only four new players are practicing with the team this spring, which means most players practicing now are already on the same page, although there is still a learning curve for some players.

“We’ve still got some of the young guys were doing a couple more drills that they’ve never done before,” Helfrich said. “You see some heads spinning, and one guy running one way and 105 going the other way so there’s a little less of that but we’re starting to learn how to practice.”

Oregon has the look of a team that could easily begin the season ranked in the top ten of the polls, and with quarterback Marcus Mariota back in the fold the Ducks should have an offense that will be difficult to slow down once again in the fall.

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5 Responses to “Oregon looking to be a tougher competitor in 2014”
  1. thekatman says: Apr 7, 2014 2:21 PM

    As a USC alum and football fan and having family in Hawaii since the 1800’s, I’m looking forward to Mariota’s Heisman run season.
    I’m Rooting for his Heisman success, unless, of course, a USC player steps up this season.
    Glad he’ll be in the NFL in 2015.
    Fight On.

  2. dhardy8207 says: Apr 7, 2014 2:51 PM

    Wonderful! Can’t wait to see this season’s comical T-shirt designs….

  3. duklover says: Apr 7, 2014 8:13 PM

    That is the nicest thing you have said about the Ducks in the two years I have been following this blog. I am hoping USC has a good year too, makes the PAC 12 more fun.
    Go Ducks!

  4. 8to80texansblog says: Apr 7, 2014 9:18 PM

    I was glad to see Mariota stay. I’m not sure how smart it was but good for CFB nonetheless.

    I believe he is the Heisman frontrunner right now. (I, like Chris Huston, believe we won’t ever see another 2 time winner)

    I think Oregon will again by a force in CFB and a threat to the CFB playoff.

  5. swu32733 says: Apr 8, 2014 9:58 AM

    The Nike checkbook will always ensure that Oregon gets what it wanes.

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