Ducks need to worry about Locker’s legs

By Marc Hudgens  |   Tuesday, August 19, 2008  |  Comments( 0 )

Oregon Ducks
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Because Washington quarterback Jake Locker led the Huskies to a 34-point showing against Oregon last season, the Ducks -- who put up 55 and won rather handily -- surely know how talented the signal-caller is.

Only two other teams -- Oregon State and Arizona -- amassed as many points against Oregon as the Huskies. Locker was undoubtedly the reason behind Washington's offensive success versus the Ducks.

Though Locker completed just 38.7 percent of his passes, he did throw for 257 yards and a whopping four touchdowns; moreover, Locker -- then a freshman -- tallied 78 ground yards on a day that included a 47-yard scamper.

Had it not been for the production of Oregon's star quarterback, Dennis Dixon, and its prodigious running back, Jonathan Stewart, it’s quite possible the team would have lost to the Huskies; unfortunately for the Ducks, Dixon and Stewart are now in the NFL, so it'll be up to their defensive front seven (plus help from safety Patrick Chung) to keep Locker at bay. If last year is any template, the redshirt sophomore will set up his passing attack with his legs.

The good news for Oregon fans is that Locker pulled a hamstring two Thursdays ago. The bad news is that he’s already nearing full health, and he'll likely be 100 percent when the two schools meet in their season-opening tilt on Aug. 30.

If the Ducks stop Locker from scrambling (their terrific secondary should be fine against the pass), it’ll be a great buffer for an offense that will feature a new passer, Nate Costa, and Stewart's by-committee replacements in LeGarrette Blount and Jeremiah Johnson.

Should Oregon get through Washington, its next game -- a matchup with Utah State -- will be an opportunity for offensive coordinator Chip Kelly’s arsenal to work out any kinks before traveling to Purdue on Sept. 13.

First, though, the Ducks need to contain Locker.
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About Marc Hudgens

Marc Hudgens has been with RealFootball365 since 2007, covering college football, specifically Clemson and Oregon. He also writes for covering the ACC. He enjoys the acidic wit of Hunter S. Thompson, is a freelance graphic designer and has written several screenplays. He...
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