SB Nation's Oregon Duck site Addicted To Quack was glad to take some time to answer some questions about their home opener against New Mexico.
1. Even though Chip Kelly named Darron Thomas the starting quarterback will the New Mexico game provide Nate Costa any chance to possibly take over the job in what is honestly a glorified scrimmage?
Not unless there's an injury. Chip Kelly has said from the start of fall camp, he's going to pick one guy and that guy will be THE guy. We expect to see Nate Costa and a lot of the other 2-deep guys get plenty of reps, but those shouldn't impact the starting line-up for the following game at Tennessee unless someone gets hurt. There is the remote possibility that Thomas could completely stink it up. That might stir the pot a little. Even then, Chip probably wouldn't waver.
2. How excited are Oregon fans for RB Lache Seastrunk in this game since LaMichael James is out?
I think we're excited to see Kenjon Barner get the start in place of LMJ. Barner, a sophomore, was an outstanding all-purpose player last year and could start at RB for a lot of teams. There is plenty of excitement surrounding Seastrunk. He showed 5-star flashes in fall camp, but, like many freshmen, he also appeared to struggle with getting lined up correctly in Oregon's multiple formations. Oregon coaches have made no indication they're planning to play Seastrunk and burn a red-shirt opportunity. So we may not see him at all. Barner will be spelled by senior Remene Alston, and if things get really ugly, we might see junior Andres Reed or QB-turned-all-purpose-back Daryle Hawkins.
3. Oregon is known for their offense, so lets move to the defense. Who are some defensive players that stand out for the Ducks?
The Ducks could become much better known for their defense this season. Oregon's defensive unit is loaded with returning starters, with quality depth at almost every position. The entire defense is fast, fast, and fast, but this unit also plays very physical. Most of the starters are solid tacklers. They're going to harrass opposing QBs, close quickly on ball carriers in open space, punish receivers going across the middle and force turnovers. Our corners might be the weak spots, but that's a stretch...those guys are pretty decent.
Players most likely to be all-conference, or even all-american, would include FS John Boyett, SS Eddie Pleasant, LB Casey Mathews, LB Spencer Paysinger, DT Brandon Bair and DE Kenny Rowe.
4. Even with quarterback uncertainty should Oregon be considered a contender for the BCS title?
Probably not. How often do we see a sophomore QB starting for the first time lead his team to the BCS title? If Darron Thomas lights the world on fire, sure, all things are possible. He has tons of talent around him and a tough defense that will have his back when he makes mistakes. I believe Oregon would have to run the table to get a BCS title shot. Even one loss would probably put the Ducks behind some other one-loss team with a better resume. That's a potential consequence of playing OOC opponents New Mexico and Portland State, at Tennessee (who doesn't appear to be the Tennessee of old), and conference opponents like Washington State and Arizona State who may not win four games between them.
5. Most assume that Oregon will easily win this game, but what would have to happen for New Mexico to pull of this upset?
Oregon turnovers and a lot of them. With a couple of those generating points, momentum and belief on the UNM sideline. Seriously, the wheels would really have to come off. It would be considered the most pathetic home loss since the 24th-ranked Ducks lost 30-24 to Indiana. Disaster can and will happen. Doubtful it happens Saturday against New Mexico, not against this veteran-heavy Duck team.
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