During the next few weeks, we’re going to go through Oregon’s roster, position by position, examining what talent was lost to graduation or the NFL and what that leaves the Ducks with in 2014.
We’re into the defense now, moving through the front seven. Today, we examine the strongside linebackers.
Who was lost after the 2013 season: Boseko Lokombo (graduation)
Lost production: 63 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks, 7 quarterback hurries, 1 interception
Who returns in 2014: redshirt junior Tyson Coleman, redshirt sophomore Oshay Dunmore, sophomore Torrodney Prevot, redshirt senior Mike Garrity, sophomore Johnny Ragin III, incoming freshman Justin Hollins, incoming freshman Jimmie Swain IV
Statistics of returning players: 45 tackles, 3 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry
Outlook: This will be one of the biggest question marks going into the season. Replacing Lokombo is no easy task, and while there are plenty of options, it’s still a hole in the defense that needs major attention. Coleman didn’t play in the spring game, which gave more game reps to Dunmore and Prevot, but the competition still seems to be pretty wide open.
The biggest question is how the Ducks will replace the quarterback pressure that Lokombo alone provided last season -- he led the team with seven quarterback hurries while also recording three sacks. But with the group the Ducks have now, it seems unlikely that just one of these guys will be able to produce what he did.
The linebackers, as a whole, should be better than they were a season ago, but the key to how much better they can be is how much the strongside position can produce. If Coleman or Prevot can step in and really provide the pressure on quarterbacks that the Ducks need, then this could be a very scary group.
Other spring position reviews: