July 14, 2008

Talent and questions abound for Duck WR's

The Oregon Ducks lost two starting outstanding wide receivers for the season in 2007, though the brilliant play of Dennis Dixon was able to mask much of the loss until he, like them, succumbed to a season-ending knee injury. Also like Dixon, seniors Brian Paysinger and Cameron Colvin were both playing the best football of their careers when their seasons were cut short.

Going into 2008 the Ducks have some questions at wide receiver. The Ducks will be long on talent and short on proven players as they approach the season. Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti was not overly pleased with the performance of the passing game in spring.

"I'm not as pleased at wide receiver," Bellotti remarked, "I didn't feel we did as much as we needed to do this spring to help the quarterbacks. The combination of young quarterbacks and somewhat young receivers was not a good mix. We were not as efficient as we need to be."

Senior Jaison Williams will be one of the starters at wide receiver. Williams has repeatedly proven he can make plays, though some tough drops in crucial situations have thus far caused a low murmur of discontent amongst Duck faithful. Talented players like Williams break out their senior seasons all the time, and Coach Bellotti felt the 6'5" player had the time of spring he needed.

"Jaison Williams did a nice job this spring and is continuing to work hard and will provide the senior leadership we need," Bellotti stated.

Another player with one last season to prove himself is senior Terence Scott. Scott fared well in his spring assessment.

"Terrence Scott despite battling some things showed flashes," Bellotti stated. "Terrence is in much better shape. He is another example of a JC guy who showed up without the foundation of training to allow themselves a chance to compete this year."

Coach Bellotti had only motivational language following the spring performance of one sophomore who saw significant action last year.

"Another player who saw extensive minutes in 2007 was Jeffrey Maehl. However much like Justin Roper, he did not build on the foundation that was created at the end of last season," observed the Oregon Head Coach.

The other three sophomore wide receivers fared a little better in their spring assessment. "Jamere Holland and Drew Davis each showed flashes of doing some good things but I didn't see enough consistency to say one or the other has won a job," said Bellotti. "Aaron Pflugrad did a good job. He developed in my mind and blossomed a little bit," he added.

Added to the roster during with the recruiting class of 2008 was Gavilan College wide receiver Ellis Krout. As with all junior college transfers, the Oregon Ducks expect them to vie for playing time immediately. The Oregon Head Coach did not make an exeption for Krout.

"Ellis Krout is a guy who had best be in shape because we expect him to come in and compete," challenged Bellotti.

Also added to the mix at wide receiver in the last signing class are three high school players who have the talent and divers skill set to contribute in their first year.

We have some young guys Dion Jordan and Blake Cantu and Garrett Embry that all have a chance to be in the rotation," Bellotti predicted. "They're all different receivers and bring different things to the table."

Adding four players to the wide receiver group who could be ready to contribute will add intrigue to Oregon's fall camp, and will take some of the attention away from the quarterback competition. Which quarterback and wide receivers start the season-opener against Washington is anyone's guess.

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