For years, the Oregon Ducks have run Chip Kelly‘s up-tempo blur offense to near perfection, annually ranking among the best rushing teams in college football. With Kelly now gone to the NFL and Mark Helfrich taking over the helm, there were rumors that the passing game may get a bit more attention in Eugene moving forward. The way the Ducks are recruiting this off-season only gives those rumors added weight.
The Ducks, for the first time in a long time, are recruiting pocket passers. Specifically, they are making a run at Tim Boyle, a three-star pocket passer out of Middletown, Connecticut, currently committed to the Boston College Eagles. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound signal caller is ranked No. 36 among pocket passers in the 2013 class, and on paper looks like a poor fit for Oregon’s high octane spread offense. That hasn’t stopped Helfrich from pursuing him, signaling his willingness to change up the philosophy.
According to Boyle:
“(Coach Helfrich) told me I have a good arm, accuracy and good footwork. I am a pocket passer, I’m not a dual threat quarterback but he told me that he wants to throw the ball a lot and he wants a pocket passer in the mix with his quarterback. He said I was a good fit.”
Last season, the Ducks attempted a pass on only 35-percent of offensive snaps as Kelly drove his offense through his running backs and the fast break style of running game. The team ranked No. 72 in passing offense, but seem to have the weapons to be more proficient through the air. Quarterback Marcus Mariota showed flashes of excellence in the passing game when given the opportunity, and Josh Huff set career marks last season despite missing a pair of games.
Helfrich and his new passing game coordinator Matt Lubick appear ready to open up the offense using the air attack next season and beyond. While it isn’t a transition that will happen overnight, the run-to-pass ratio should be a little more even in 2013 and may eventually skew to the pass-heavy side as Helfrich continues to recruit a different style of player to Eugene.
It didn’t seem possible, but the Oregon offense could get even more explosive under its new head coach as the Ducks begin to embrace the passing game. Watch out Pac 12, and watch out college football.