The Oregon Ducks have a new head coach in town, as Willie Taggart will open up his first season in Eugene with the annual Oregon Spring Game.
After last season, the Oregon Ducks decided that they had enough of head coach Mark Helfrich. In his place, the program brought in Willie Taggart, who spent the last few seasons making South Florida a legitimate program in college football. He has experienced some bumps since taking over the program, but the University is definitely in good hands with him at the wheel for the foreseeable future.
At quarterback, Justin Herbert will likely be under center, after showing he can certainly play this level as a true Freshman last season. He threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns after taking over for Dakota Prukop as the team’s starter, leading the team to an impressive road victory against the heavily-favored Utah Utes on the road. Herbert did enough to hold onto the job this season, but there is talent behind him on the depth chart.
Running back Royce Freeman is one of the best in the country at his position, and the program must have been elated that he decided to return for his senior season. If the Ducks are to do anything this season, Freeman is going to have to be a beast, which he has proven he can be during his illustrious career. Expect him to run the ball between 25-30 times a game in 2017, giving Herbert the kind of running back he needs to take the next step in his development.
The Oregon Spring Game will take place on Saturday, April 29 inside Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. Kickoff is slated for 2:00pm ET.
The Oregon Ducks showed flashes of potential last season, and with Freeman entering his last season on campus, they should be better in 2017. Taggart is going to get the best out of his players, and there should be a lot more accountability expected from the players. They have some solid offensive pieces in place, but the season will hinge on how well they can defend in a Pac-12 that should be solid offensively across the board.