TE Tim Day (PHOTO: Eric Evans)

2004 Statistics

Coach: Mike Bellotti
80-40, 10 years
2004 Record: 5-6
at Oklahoma LOST 7-31
at Washington State WON 41-38
at Stanford WON 16-13
at California LOST 27-28
at Oregon State LOST 21-50

2004 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2005 Outlook

With Mike Belotti in charge, 5-6 just doesn't cut it. Accordingly, the Ducks don't stay down for long. What a horrible omen when the Ducks lost the opener, at home, to (ugh!) Indiana. They lost three of their first four and then their final three. The team wasn't spectacular on special teams and turned the ball over too much. One dilemma was the lack of progress within Clemen's level of play, which will change with the new guru brought in to fix just that.

With the addition of offensive juggernaut Gary Crowton as coordinator and a loaded group of players at skill positions, this offense should return to competing for Pac-10 titles. Now, whether or not an inexperienced offensive line is going to allow those great skill position players to do anything with the football is going to be a major key to winning. Crowton's throw-it-up style can only help Clemens lead them past any problem (areas).

Personnel issues on defense are going to cause problems early, but with a defensive backfield as solid (tacklers) as any in the conference, mistakes won't be very noticeable and will seamlessly disintegrate.

Fortunately, forcing turnovers was never really the problem. As mentioned, NOT turning over the ball is going to be the key. With these types of eager, speedy players, the 'less-giving' Ducks will now beat some teams they couldn't. The Ducks are going to finish with a winning record, but to second or third in the conference is where they need to return. That's what fans expect, and that's the type of talent they have. By October, Autzen Stadium is going to be a place foes will not want to come by mid-October - ergo, the California and Arizona State games will tell just how far this squad has progressed, and those tilts will reveal just what magic the Ducks still have hidden behind their secret curtain. Look for a late-season upswing as the elements come together strongly after disappointments build the character needed.

Projected 2005 record: 6-5
QB - 3.5 DL - 4
RB - 3.5 LB - 2.5
WR - 3 DB - 3.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Kellen Clemens, 372-223-10, 2548 yds., 22 TD

Rushing: Terrence Whitehead, 200 att., 1144 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Demetrius Williams, 47 rec., 593 yds., 2 TD

Scoring: Terrence Whitehead, 8 TD, 48 pts.; Tim Day, 8 TD, 48 pts.

Punting: David Dittman, 59 punts, 38.4 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: J.D. Nelson, 66 tot., 39 solo

Sacks: Devan Long, 7.5 sacks

Interceptions: Aaron Gipson, 4 for 39 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Andiel Brown, 1 ret., 5.0 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns:
Justin Phinisee, 17 ret., 15.4 avg., 1 TD


DB Justin Phinisee (PHOTO: Eric Evans)
OFFENSE: Kenny Washington-TB, Marcus Maxwell-WR, Adam Snyder-OT, Nick Steitz-OG, Robin Knebel-OL, Mike DeLaGrange-OT, Jared Siegel-K
DEFENSE: Chris Solomona-DE, Ramone Reed-WLB, Jerry Matson-MLB, Marley Tucker-ROV, Robby Valenzuela-DT, David Dittman-P
This is the final year for Kellen Clemens. Clemens was expected to breakout more last year, but he basically stayed at the same performance level to end up with an honorable mention honor from the Pac 10 (up against Rogers and Leinart). But he certainly needs to be marginally better for the Ducks to get the levels of those teams. He has a strong supporting cast around him, so look for that improvement to occur. But the former Oregon "Gatorade Player of the Year" has started since he has been a sophomore, so his third try should be the charm. Look for Dennis Dixon regardless, as he is the future. Dixon's speed-size combo makes him able to drop back or run right by anyone. He will be seen, and will make unprepared foes pay. This unit is strong.

Running Back
Terrence Whitehead's ability has the recognition of his teammates (voted team MVP in '04). He virtually came out of nowhere, rushing for 100 yards or more in six of his last nine appearances. With that type of running to finish the season, he will be back in the same form this fall. He had more receptions than any running back in the Pac-10 (44), so look for an expended role (ala Reggie Bush) for this dual threat. With Whitehead and the addition of freshman Jonathan Stewart, the Ducks should trail only USC's in 1-2 punch. Stewart (another bowling ball rated tops for RBs by Rivals.com) was a consensus prep all-American and is going to see playing time. Throw in the chemistry Whitehead has already developed with Clemens, and playmaking fullback Dante Rosario, and the Ducks are going to have one of the top two or three backfields in the conference, definitely the most physical
The Ducks went out and got two high-profile receivers. Demetrius Williams returns at one wide receiver spot, though he underachieved for expectations, but junior college recruit James Finley is immediately going to see playing time. The same could go for Derrick Jones, a player who practiced with Southern Cal last fall before not qualifying academically. At 6-2, 200 pounds, Finley has the speed to be an impact receiver. Coach Mike Belotti said on signing day that Finley should be the speed receiver to stretch the field. Cameron Colvin, who battled inconsistency as a freshman, will be the fourth receiver to be shuffled in. The unit will grow quickly, complimenting the running game well with size throughout the third string for blocking, as well as presence for underneath routes that occupy LBs for that split second needed.

Tight End
Tim Day is a potent threat at tight end, where he was selected second-team all-Pac-10. He will be Clements' best option in the red zone (8 TDs). He can only get better, and with the receivers sizes, he will face mismatches every week to grease the Duck's offensive machine.

Offensive Line
This, more than anything, will determine the Ducks season. Guard Ian Reynoso is the only starter back. And of the guys who were behind the starters last year, none were older than sophomores. Two of the players - Geoff Schwartz and Josh Tschirgi - were freshmen and part of heralded group of recruits that will affect this crew well. The Ducks brought in two big junior college players to fill big spots. Especially good with size and speed, Pat Soroalo is going to make up for the loss of Adam Snyder. The line could use rebuilding after allowing 41 sacks, though earning anywhere close 4.1 per carry again will be the real measuring stick. All of the critical elements will take time to click as the line gels, so by the third game, the season will take its due course, going as far as this line will take it.

No doubt, the skill positions are loaded. Clement is headed for a stellar season, and Whitehead and Stewart are going to be a productive duo that will wear down opposing linemen. The passing game will surely benefit from the addition of offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, the man who put BYU's passing game back on the map (ranked 12th last year with a first-year starting soph). All they need now is the offensive line to come together, and quickly. Look for the change in their 38% third-down conversion rate to also be a barometer for progress here. The short passing game, especially with Day, should be enough to keep foes from loading the box too often, as will power running outside to spread the field that way. Another key stat will be if their total offensive ranking (37th) again outpaces their scoring placement (55th) - production has to equal point for Oregon to reach the levels of those nationally intimidating in-conference foes.


RB Terrence Whitehead (PHOTO: Eric Evans)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Kellen Clemens-Sr (6-2, 218) Dennis Dixon-So (6-4, 192)
FB Dante Rosario-Jr (6-4, 243) Jonathan Levine-Jr (6-3, 243)
TB Terrence Whitehead-Sr (5-10, 220) Terrell Jackson-Fr (5-9, 196)
WR Demetrius Williams-Sr (6-2, 191) Brian Paysinger-So (6-2, 202)
WR Cameron Colvin-So (6-2, 199) Garren Strong-So (6-3, 184)
TE Tim Day-Sr (6-4, 265) Nate LiaBraaten-Sr (6-5, 255)
OT Geoff Schwartz-So (6-7, 351) Aaron Klovas-Fr (6-6, 303)
OG Josh Tschirgi-So (6-4, 289) Mark Lewis-Fr (6-4, 302)
C Enoka Lucas-Jr (6-3, 296) Jeff Kendall-Fr (6-3, 279)
OG Ian Reynoso-Sr (6-4, 305) Max Unger-Fr (6-5, 291)
OT Shawn Flanagan-Jr (6-5, 305) Jermaine Randolph-Jr (6-5, 313)
K Paul Martinez-Jr (6-2, 215) Luke Bellotti-So (5-9, 165)


Defensive Line
The right side of the line will anchor the unit. NC.net first-team all-American Haloti Ngata is an absolute monster at tackle, both with his amazing size-speed combo and his play, and he is going to improve on a season where he was second-team all-Pac 10 - really, he's only a junior. Next to him is Devan Long (brother Rien won Outland). His brother blossomed late, and Devan is on the same track. Darius Sanders is the most athletic lineman. Chris Solomona is quick enough to drop back (2 INTs), and his 10 TFLs prove that he keeps his responsibility in mind well. This unit can only improve, so look for sacks to go up and average per carry to go down.

The Ducks were hit hard by graduation at this position. The only returning starter is Anthony Trucks, who will again be strong with his speed in coverage and open-field tackling abilities. The Ducks made a point of bringing in some junior college linebackers, indicating the other two spots are wide open. Blair Phillips and Jason Turner, like Trucks, are both big and fast enough to impact immediately. A.J. Tuitele has the skills and size to grab the outside linebacker position. The sophomore was a safety in high school, and he was one of the top 25 defensive backs in the country. He is getting bigger and should be an impact player by the time he leaves. He is the type of hybrid player that typify Oregon's LB corps. The depth here should be worthy to rotate in and genuinely help, but by when will tell much about where this team goes.

Defensive Back
This is going to be one of the best secondaries in the conference. Every member of the secondary that started returns, including standout Aaron Gipson at one corner. At the other corner is Jackie Bates, possibly the best young corner in the conference. With two experienced, lockdown corners, the Ducks will be able to take chances. With Justin Phinisee at rover, J.D. Nelson at free safety can continue his excellent run-support, so the well-cast roles back here will allow other defensive units to know what is needed of them more quickly, the key to blowing up play-action and draws/delays. Speed at LB will make these guys that much more aggressive knowing they're able to gamble and lose without the team going south.

Oregon displayed a rather even balance in stopping the run and pass, but neither was enough to make for decisive Duck wins. Teams will again be forced to pass when the run-stopping is stout, but the aerial defense will be that much better so that the stunts and blitzes can have maximum impact. Obviously, Football 101 tells us that the point total again being 25+ per tilt won't work, no matter how well an individual's or a specific unit's impact(s) will seem to be. But look for the line to trigger a domino effect of sorts, as they occupy enough hats to make the budding LBs shine, and therefore allowing the DBs to (seemingly) sit back and then pick their way to Oregon dominance on this side of the ball. When the Ducks do tighten coverage and still blitz, you will see the TO-margin tilt their way and wins then come, regardless of the offensive production.


DT Haloti Ngata (PHOTO: Eric Evans)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Matt Toeaina-Jr (6-3, 279) Darius Sanders-Sr (6-5, 279)
DT Haloti Ngata-Jr (6-5, 338) Ra'Shon Harris-Fr (6-5, 305)
DT David Faateete-So (6-2, 296) Cole Linehan-Fr (6-4, 300)
DE Devan Long-Sr (6-4, 266) Victor Filipe-Jr (6-2, 275)
LB Brent Haberly-Jr (6-0, 220) Ryan Phipps-So (5-11, 210)
LB Justin Andrews-Sr (6-2, 242) Jon Pope-Jr (6-1, 230)
ROV Demetrius Spates-Sr (5-11, 203) Parris Moore-jr (5-11, 185)
CB Aaron Gipson-Sr (5-9, 179) Willie Glasper-Fr (5-11, 185)
CB Justin Phinisee-Sr (5-11, 200) Jackie Bates-So (5-10, 176)
SS Anthony Trucks-Sr (6-1, 226) A.J. Tuitele-So (5-11, 210)
FS J.D. Nelson-Jr (5-11, 211) Ryan DePalo-So (6-1, 199)
P Aaron Knowles-Jr (6-0, 182) Matt Dragich-Jr (6-1, 222)


Jared Siegel graduated last year, and the only kicker on the roster is Luke Belotti. But Paul Martinez will move from punter, where he was a backup, to kicker. Martinez was a kicker in high school and gives the Ducks their best option.

The Ducks had a specific need here and addressed it with a junior college player, the best at his position. Matt Dragich is a directional punter with 4.2-second average hangtime, who will assuredly, along with a hungry reserve crew, make net results improve.

Return Game
Justin Phinisee is one of the best, averaging 15.4 yards per punt return as he ran one back. Kick returners Ryan Shaw and Kenny Washington graduated, so Phinisee could take over duties there. If he doesn't, Andiel Brown is awaiting his reps here. Ngata two blocked kicks, so watch for No.96 blastng through the middle, even on special teams.