At Oregon, the best defense really is a good offense, and this year Don Pellum’s defense will benefit from an under-appreciated asset:
An offensive line that can control the fourth quarter.
Oregon returns 108 starts on the offensive line, and they’ve all gotten bigger and stronger in the off season. They feature a three-year starter at center in Hroniss Grasu, two-year starters Jake Fisher and Tyler Johnstone at tackles. Cameron Hunt and Hamani Stevens return at the guards, and position coach Steve Greatwood added junior college strong man Haniteli Lousi for immediate depth.
Behind these guys are three years of solid recruiting, including Jesuit product Doug Brenner and 6-2, 295-lb. Jake Pisarcik.
Running behind all this beef is the nation’s best running back tandem in Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner, with powerful Royce Freeman and Kani Benoit waiting their turn to contribute.
This season if they need it, the Ducks have the option of slowing the tempo in the fourth quarter and keeping the ball. Against Oregon State and California in 2009 they did that, with methodical drives that sealed victories without even scoring a point. It’s an hidden and under appreciated weapon for an attack that makes its reputation with the quick strike.