San Jose State Non-Conference Preview: Oregon
This will be the second game in a row that SJSU is on the road against a PAC 12 opponent.
San Jose State will be on the road against Oregon in the third week of the season. The game will be played in Eugene on Saturday, September, 15th and televised on the PAC-12 Network at 2 PM PST.
Coach: Mario Cristobal, 0-1, first full season
2017 Record: 7-6
2017 Season in Review: Willie Taggart’s only season with the Ducks was going great until Justin Herbert was injured. With the Herbert in the lineup, Oregon averaged 52 points per game, but only 15 without him. Over the course of the season, this team showed improvement over what we have seen from the Ducks in the past couple of years. Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt made a huge impact turning what was a really bad defense 2 years ago, into a pretty good one last season.
2018 Strengths: With a quarterback that has potential to win the Heisman this year the offense is surely a strength. Last seasons offensive coordinator has turned into the head coach and the QB coach is now the offensive coordinator so don’t expect any drop off from Herbert. The Ducks will have to replace Royce Freeman at running back but have a good combo in senior Tony Brooks-James and redshirt freshman CJ Verdell. Additionally, with three starters returning and Alabama grad transfer Dallas Warmack coming to Oregon the offensive line should be a strength.
Two years ago the Ducks defense would have been a legitimate weakness, but in only a couple of seasons, it now looks like a strength. Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt has turned the defense completely around as they ranked 128th on defense in S&P+ in 2016 compared to 26th in 2017. Going from a bend but don’t break style into more of an attacking defense seemed to really make a difference. The defense again should be good as DE Jalen Jelks, who thought about going pro, and All-conference linebacker Troy Dye return.
2018 Weaknesses: A couple of weaknesses the Ducks do have might be able to be overlooked if other position groups are able to really shine. Oregon has most of the receiving corps back from last season, but they do not have a standout player there. Although having a Heisman potential quarterback playing behind an experienced offensive line can really change things around for an offense.