Probable Starters vs. USC
Pos. No. Player Height Weight Class Hometown
WR 4 Jaison Williams 6-5 240 Jr.-2L* Inglewood, CA
LT 57 Fenuki Tupou 6-6 322 Jr.-TR* Elverta, CA
LG 61 Josh Tschirgi 6-4 310 Sr.-3L* Vancouver, WA
C 60 Max Unger 6-5 300 Jr.-2L* Honaunau, HI
RG 71 Mark Lewis 6-4 308 Jr.-2L* Arroyo Grande, CA
RT 75 Geoff Schwartz 6-7 337 Sr.-3L Los Angeles, CA
TE 83 Ed Dickson 6-5 240 So.-1L* Bellflower, CA
QB 10 Dennis Dixon 6-4 205 Sr.-3L San Leandro, CA
RB 28 Jonathan Stewart 5-11 230 Jr.-2L Lacey, WA
WR 89 Aaron Pflugrad 5-10 172 Fr.-HS Eugene, OR
WR 21 Garren Strong 6-3 203 Sr.-3L* San Jose, CA
Best Offensive Player: QB Dennis Dixon
Quarterback -- This is senior QB Dennis Dixon's team. He makes things go and is the catalyst behind the nation's 2nd ranked offense. The guy is very talented, and although he has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career, things haven't really clicked until this season. He's had to share time at QB throughout his career, and has not had the luxury of continuity in the offense because the Ducks have gone through offensive coordinators at an alarming rate. Last season, Dixon threw more interceptions (14) than TD's (12) and looked lost as he saw his Ducks lose their final 4 games and finish with a record of 7-6. This year the Ducks are (6-1) and ranked 5th in the nation. Dixon is the team's second-leading rusher with 416 yards and seven touchdowns and he has completed 69% of his passes for 1,728 yards and 16 touchdowns with only three interceptions. It's all come together for Dixon this year, he's running that spread offense very effectively and effortlessly. He's very fast and has good vision when running with the ball, but he also has cannon for an arm, throwing the deep ball very well. This QB looks less like the Dennis Dixon that USC faced last year, but he's not quite at Vince Young's level. He's more like the Bryan Randall that USC faced in the 2004 season opener against Virginia Tech.
Backs and Receivers -- Oregon's playmakers have been on fire this season. They lit up Michigan in the Big House, and every other team they've faced this season with the exception of that choke job in Berkeley. They did however, lose two of their biggest weapons in backup RB Jeremiah Johnson and starting WR Cameron Colvin to injury a couple of weeks ago. Both players were making contributions to the Ducks' offense at the time of injury. This significantly hurts their depth, as USC can place much of its focus on its primary weapons WR Jaison Williams (31 catches, 505 yards, 5 TD's), RB Johnathan Stewart (131 rushes, 940 yards, 7 TD's), and TE Ed Dickson (19 catches, 255 yards, 2 TD's). Oregon does a great job creating mismatches with their formations and play designs, and I'm sure they'll take some shots downfield on USC's secondary, which hasn't been exactly ballhawking this season.
Offensive Line -- The Oregon line deserves much of the credit for an offense that is averaging 46.6 points per game, second behind Hawaii and is second in total offense with 550.9 yards per game, trailing only Texas Tech. The line has surrendered just 12 sacks in 211 pass attempts
and have opened up some big running lanes for Dixon and Stewart in that spread formation. They do a good job of forcing teams to overcommit to one side, allowing the linemen to funnel them and open up the backside for cutbacks or misdirection plays. They haven't faced a front seven as good as USC's since last year's USC game in the Coliseum, but they are certainly running on all cylinders right now.
Check back for the defensive preview, which I will be posted sometime after the BC @ Virginia Tech game tonight.
Fight On! Beat the Ducks!!