It’s only been one game, but it appears Oregon’s offense will be humming once again this season, even without Marcus Mariota. The Ducks dropped 61 points on Eastern Washington last week in their season-opening win.
Can the Ducks be as good this year as they were last year?
“Well, I’m a big fan of Vernon Adams,” Pac-12 Network analyst Jake Plummer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “He’s not Marucs Mariota, of course. Marcus Mariota’s moved on. But I just think he’s just going to continue to gain his confidence, especially after last week. Yeah, it was against a smaller opponent, but that was his old teammates, so they were going hard and trying to get him. So I think he’s going to be a difference-maker, definitely going to be a guy who’s going to make some plays that I don’t think anyone’s yet accustomed to seeing from a guy who his size and from another division down. I think it’s going to be exciting to see what he can do.”
Adams threw for 246 yards, ran for 94 and had two touchdowns against his former team in what was a solid debut. But can he handle No. 5 Michigan State (1-0) in East Lansing on Saturday?
Plummer says yes.
“He’s played great against his own level of opponents, but when he stepped up against Oregon State a couple years ago and Washington last year, he was fearless,” Plummer said. “He didn’t care who it was going against, so you’re not going to faze him playing a great Michigan State game. I think they got the right guy back there calling the signals for the Ducks. The defense obviously is a concern. They gave up a lot of yardage in the air last week and didn’t seem to tackle as well as they normally do. So I think there’s things they can fix and do a better job of. You’re not going to hold anybody to very limited passing yards these days with some of these offenses, and Connor Cook’s a great quarterback. So you’re just going to have to stop them a few times, maybe get a turnover or two and get that ball back in Vernon’s hands.”
Although Oregon allowed 42 points to Eastern Washington, Plummer believes the Ducks are still the class of the Pac-12.
“At this point, I think so,” he said. “They just play at such a high pace. They got such amazing talent on offense. They are deep at receiver, they got guys that are unselfish that will change positions and play for the team and I think their defense will come around. But it’s hard to say. It’s still early. USC, UCLA looked good. My boys, ASU, they lost to Texas A&M and I think that will wake them up a little bit. I look at Utah as a team that’s going to be a spoiler. They’re going to be tough to beat – very tough to beat. They’re going to cause some havoc by beating some of these favorites.”