Despite season ending injuries to senior safety John Boyett and junior safety Avery Patterson, the Ducks’ secondary did not skip a beat. Oregon finished the season with a whopping 22 interceptions, five of which where taken back for touchdowns.
This season, Oregon needs to continue this success if they have hopes of going undefeated. Only Boyett, who they didn’t have most of last season, graduated; the rest of the secondary is going to be the exact same successful group that dominated last season.
The Ducks’ secondary was statistically led by sophomore-safety Erick Dargan and sophomore-cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Dargan led the team with five interceptions; his most notable interceptions came in the Fiesta Bowl where he had two against Heisman Trophy candidate Colin Klein. Dargon looks poised to start at the safety position alongside Brian Jackson. These two gentlemen will be the two primary safeties until Patterson is fully recovered from his injury; and once that happens, it’s more than likely they’ll have a three-man rotation to keep everyone fresh.
Ekrpre-Olomu catapulted himself into 2014 NFL Mock Drafts as a projected first round draft pick. He finished the season with four interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. But what makes Ekpre-Olomu so good is his ability to defend the pass — he had a season total of 14 passes deflected.
One of the biggest keys to the Duck’s success is their depth on the defensive side of the ball. There are at least 19 players that rotate every 7-10 snaps to ensure that the defense can always stay one step ahead of any offense in the NCAA.
Oregon has a fast paced offensive that leads the nation in most offensive statistical categories. But with the way the defense is progressing, they are starting to look like an extremely talented all-around powerhouse.