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Defensive Line Preview

The three-time Pac-10/12 champion Oregon Ducks will conduct media day on August 6th and then take the field for their first practice Tuesday August, 7th.

Dion Jordan looks to have an All-American level senior season as he headlines perhaps one of the deepest defensive lines at Oregon in modern history for the Ducks.

Quarterback preview

The Positive:

Perhaps the most experienced position group on the Oregon roster heading into the 2012 football season. Three starters return in 2011 and headlined by senior defensive end Dion Jordan. Taylor Hart, Wade Keliikipi, and Ricky Heimuli likely will be the other three starters along the defensive line with Hart shifting from defensive tackle to strong-side end in this scenario. Experienced depth is also sitting in the wings with senior Isaac Remington and sophomore Tony Washington seeing plenty of action last year. Jared Ebert comes off a redshirt and incoming freshman Arik Armstead look to be a factor along the line in 2012 for even more depth. Add in a collection of elite recruits signed in 2012 as well and this group is loaded.

The Negative:

While Oregon boasts a lot of depth along the defensive line, and proven depth at that, there is still one minor concern with depth at the drop-end spot. Washington played there in the spring game but we still don't know if that was a situational deal or not. We might be being a tad picky though because the drop-end is more linebacker than defensive end and we could see a linebacker shift over here.

The Unknown:

With lots of talent back from last year's defensive unit the unknown tends to fall on how good a player can be, will a freshman or true freshman play significant snaps, or will we see any position changes?

We've already seen the position change with redshirt freshman Christian French making the move from tight end to defensive end. But now we wait to see, er hear, how that transition works. Can French get onto the field? On paper he seems like an ideal candidate to replace Dion Jordan at the drop-end position.

How big of a role will former five-star Arik Armstead play at defensive end in 2012 as a true freshman at Oregon?

Arik Armstead seems likely to see playing time but is Oregon going to need him to play major snaps at defensive end? Could we see another freshman defensive lineman, true or not, play major snaps? DeForest Buckner or Alex Balducci seem like guys who could play inside or out. What about Sam Kamp who comes off a redshirt?

Can Dion Jordan become an All-American defensive lineman? He is being hyped up as a candidate and named to multiple defensive watch lists. Now as a senior and the ‘hunted’ along the line he will try to live up to the hype.

Real Talk:

This might be Nick Aliotti's best defensive line unit he's ever had at Oregon and that says a lot about some of the groups he's fielded at Oregon. Dion Jordan is being billed as one of the best defensive lineman in the nation, Taylor Hart a solid and steady player in the Pac-12, and then Keliikipi and Heimuli are both healthy after fighting injuries last year. Add in the proven and unproven talent and this group looks elite.

Depth Chart

SDE: Taylor Hart JR/Isaac Remmington SR/Arik Armstead FR/David Kafovalu SO/ DeForest Buckner FR
DT: Wade Keliikipi JR/Ricky Heimuli JR/Ryan Hagen JR/Alex Balducci FR
DT: Ricky Heimuli JR/Isaac Remington SR/Jared Ebert JR/Nick Morrison JR/Axel McQuaw JR/Stetzon Bair SO
WDE: Dion JOrdan SR/Tony Washington SO/Ryan McCandless RFR/Christian French RFR/Cody Carriger FR

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