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https://247sports.com/college/auburn/Article/Better-Know-a-Foe-What-you-need-to-know-about-2019-Oregon-132009003/

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Better Know a Foe: What you need to know about Oregon
ByBRANDON MARCELLO May 13, 4:43 PM
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Better Know a Foe is a daily series dedicated to providing more information on Auburn's Power 5 opponents. This week Auburn Undercover focuses on Oregon, the Tigers' season-opening opponent.

Auburn vs. Oregon (Advocare Classic)
When: Aug. 31
Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
TV: TBA


Last time they met
Michael Dyer rushed over the right side, rolled over an Oregon player, the whistle never blew and he continued running as it was clear he was never ruled down. A few plays later, the Tigers were in position to kick the game-winning field goal to win the national championship in January 2011. The Tigers won 22-19 in the first meeting between the programs. Nearly nine years later, Kodi Burns, who caught a touchdown pass in the game for Auburn, is now a receivers coach for the Tigers.


Oregon
Coach: Mario Cristobal, 2nd year (36-52 overall; 9-5 at Oregon)
2018 record: 9-4
Returning starters: 10 offense; 8 defense
Series history: Auburn leads 1-0


Top storylines
Quarterback Justin Herbert is back

Oregon is projected to be a top-15 team in the preseason polls primarily because of the return of quarterback Justin Herbert, who opted to postpone an NFL career to remain with the Ducks for his senior season. He threw for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns with eight interceptions while completing 59.4 percent of his passes last season in leading the Ducks to nine wins. He returns every passing option but one this season, and the expectation is for him to be much more accurate like he was as a sophomore, when he completed nearly 68 percent of his passes.

Herbert is expected to be a top-5 pick in the NFL Draft a year from now.


There's also this: For the second straight year, Auburn must open the season against a veteran quarterback out of the Pac-12. The difference here is Herbert has more pro potential than Washington's Jake Browning, and with plenty of weapons to utilize in the opener, this offense could be much more difficult to defend with Herbert at the controls.

Receivers capable of much more

Part of the reason why Herbert's completion percentage dropped last season was because his receivers dropped passes. The Ducks dropped 52 (!) passes, including eight that would have resulted in touchdowns.

If the receivers do not step up early in preseason practices, there are freshmen ready to step in and take over if needed after the Ducks secured the best recruiting class in school history. The best receiver on the roster is a newcomer: graduate transfer Juwan Johnson out of Penn State. Johnson caught 54 passes for 701 yards in 2017, but his production was cut in half as a junior. He opted to transfer to Oregon, where he will be utilized much more often. He is huge at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds and will be a matchup problem for every opponent, including Auburn.

Meanwhile, Jaylon Redd is the leading pass-catcher returning to the offense after Dillon Mitchell (1,184 yards) left for the NFL. Redd had 433 yards. After that? Well, freshmen Josh Delgado and Mycah Pittman might have to step up immediately in the opener.

Potentially the best returning offensive line in the nation


Two offensive linemen opted to return to the team rather than go to the NFL, and all five starters return. Left tackle Penei Swell is also completely healthy after sitting out six games with a high-ankle sprain to complete an offensive line that could have as many as three players selected in the NFL Draft next year. The only question is at right guard, where Dallas Warmack could be replaced by Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, the nation's No. 1 tackle out of the junior college ranks.

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Running backs stacked

CJ Verdell was one of only two players on the FBS level to rush for 1,000 yards and also record 300 receiving yards last season.

Verdell also rushed for 10 touchdowns as his backup, Travis Dye, added 739 yards and four touchdowns. Both were freshmen last season while averaging more than 5 yards per carry. With their experience and the returning offensive line in front of them, big numbers are expected from the duo.

The front 7 is a mix of vets, youngsters

Kayvon Thibodeaux enters as a 5-star freshman and is expected to start immediately, but the anchor of the line is Jordon Scott (6-1, 333) at nose tackle.

Oregon ranked 43rd in rushing defense last season and could provide a challenge for Auburn's five returning starters along the offensive line. The issue for Oregon along the defensive line and all across the defense is depth.

The linebackers lose Justin Hollins, who was the most productive tackler behind the line of scrimmage, but the return of Troy Dye at inside linebacker should help after he led the team with 115 tackles last season (and has led the team in that category in each of the last three seasons).


Secondary depth an issue

Cornerbacks Demmondore Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr. combined for six interceptions and 27 pass breakups last season, but behind them is unproven talent.

Safety Jevon Holland led Oregon with five interceptions last season and did so as a freshman. Nick Pickett also returns. Outside of that, Oregon is trying to figure out who will be their backups. Auburn needs to pay close attention to personnel during the game, and attack certain spots on the field when substitutions are made, because while the young backups are talented on paper, they have yet to be in a big-game atmosphere.

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COMMENTS

Special teams a bit of a mess

Oregon will probably start a freshman at kicker (Camden Lewis) after Adam Stack hit only 6 of 10 field goals and failed to hit a 40-yarder last season. No punter averaged more than 43 yards per punt last season as two players split time. Meanwhile, Oregon is looking for new punt and kick returners.

 

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2 hours ago, alexava said:

Awesome! I prefer all our games at 6:30 or later. 

Yep, me too. Allows many like me to work a full day and still see the game. Most of the time I can work my shifts around the games but the night games make it easier. 

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55 minutes ago, gr82be said:

Yep, me too. Allows many like me to work a full day and still see the game. Most of the time I can work my shifts around the games but the night games make it easier. 

  Well, work is another hindrance altogether for me. I’m on a rotating shift. I never voluntarily work Saturday nights but sometimes get forced. When that happens a 11:00 start is ideal but that’s impossible to predict and it almost never works out. On Saturday days, like yourself, I can get some voluntary OT and still have time to settle in for night games . But not just at work Work. I work on something somewhere all the damn time. I can get a lot done by 6:30. Even go fishing or kick back and drink beer all day with the smoker rolling. I enjoy watching other games before Auburn plays. I don’t watch many games after we play. Especially if we lose. 

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1 minute ago, alexava said:

I don’t watch many games after we play. Especially if we lose. 

Nothing could possibly less interesting to me than CFB immediately after an Auburn loss. 

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5 hours ago, McLoofus said:

Nothing could possibly less interesting to me than CFB immediately after an Auburn loss. 

Nothing better than watching bammer and or Georgia loose after an Auburn win......perfect Saturday

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45 minutes ago, SaltyTiger said:

Nothing better than watching bammer and or Georgia loose after an Auburn win......perfect Saturday

The last time both of them lost on the same day was November 4th of 2006 lol would love for that to happen sometime this season 😀

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