April 4, 2009

Spring Focus: Tight End

If the Ducks have depth problems during the 2009 campaign, it won't be at tight end. Tom Osborne has amassed himself a stable of athletes, with six scholarship players to fill what is basically one position. The Ducks did start one game with a two tight end set in 2008 (Ed Dickson and Malachi Lewis), and have the tools to do it 13 times in 2009 if they should choose to do so.

How did the Ducks get so deep at tight end? It starts at the top with senior Ed Dickson who is too good to lose his job. With him in place, junior Malachi Lewis, sophomores David Paulson and Na'Derris Ward and freshmen Dion Jordan and Mychal Rivera will vie for the remaining snaps. The option of using an H-back type player like Lewis along with a true tight end is one viable option for using two of these athletes on the field simultaneously, the other would be to use two traditional tight ends at the line of scrimmage. Smash mouth.

Duck Sports Authority asked Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli after practice Friday for his take on the state of tight end. "We've got a lot of tight ends first of all, six counting Malachi (Lewis)," began Masoli. "We're good. We're solid at that position. They still need to improve as far as playbook-wise, where to line up. A couple of the younger guys were getting a little confused out there."

Based upon his performance in the first three days of spring camp, Ed Dickson looks like he could have a breakout year. He has shown every tool: Size, speed, hands, blocking and hustle. In 2008 Dickson dropped a few balls in games. This spring he has shown no tendency for drops. He is also the best blocker of the group as an added bonus. He will be impossible to dislodge from the top of the chart.

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