EUGENE - It’s been 95-years since the Oregon Ducks opened Spring practice as the defending Rose Bowl champs. (Did they even have spring practice back then?)
I’m guessing they didn’t, so this is uncharted territory for Chip Kelly’s team, one of five in college football to end its season with a BCS bowl game win.
Oregon’s win over Wisconsin on January, 2nd answered a lot of questions about the program. But just like that, only three months after the confetti shower in Pasadena, new questions need to be answered.
Can Kenyon Barner shoulder the load at running back in the wake of LaMichael James’ departure? Is quarterback Bryan Bennett the clear-cut favorite to replace Darron Thomas, who surprisingly left school early to enter the NFL draft?
And what can Oregon fans expect from receiver Josh Huff, following a DUII citation in the off-season?
Starting linebacker Josh Kaddu will also have to be replaced. Kelly, however, isn’t necessarily looking for the answers to any or all of those questions this month, saying the spring is about "Improvement. Did you improve from practice one to practice two, to practice fifteen?”
Kelly also said no decisions on position battles will be made in April.
“You could be number one on the depth chart at the end of spring practice, then get beat out for the job because someone worked harder than you during the summer,” Kelly said.
Oregon will conclude spring practice with an intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday April 28th. The season begins September 1st against Arkansas State at Autzen Stadium.