Three things to watch for in the University of Oregon Spring Game
EUGENE, Ore. - Springtime in Eugene means flowers are blooming, the sun appears occasionally, and Oregon football returns to Autzen Stadium.
The Ducks will play their annual Spring Game scrimmage Saturday, April 30 at 11 a.m. in Autzen Stadium.
Here are three things to watch for in the game:
Quarterback Watch - Prukop vs. Jonsen
Naturally, the Quarterback competition between Montana State grad transfer, Dakota Prukop, and redshirt freshman, Travis Jonsen, will be a highly scrutinized skill comparison.
Prukop has come in as the early favorite to win the starting job in the fall, but coaches, including Offensive Coordinator Matt Lubick, continue to praise Jonsen's progress this spring.
More interestingly, we'll see them compete against one another.
According to Prukop, after Monday's practice, he and Jonsen will be split up on opposing teams in the Spring Game. The competition should be fierce and fairly even.
Tight Ends - The Return of Pharoah
Oregon may possess the greatest depth at tight end than any other team in the Pac-12, and debatably the nation.
Pharoah Brown, now a redshirt senior, makes his return from a brutal knee injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the 2014 season and the entire 2015 campaign.
Brown, Johnny Mundt and Evan Bayliss will offer tremendous depth and experience at the position -- but in the long and short of it -- fans will want to watch the 6-foot-6, 250 pound Brown back in action, as he makes his return from the sideline.
The Defense - The Brady Bunch
2015, hands down, was the most atrocious defensive year in more than a decade for the Oregon Ducks.
Despite an incredible talent in a soon-to-be first round pick in DeForest Buckner, Oregon ranked last in most defensive categories in the Pac-12.
This includes the most important defensive statistic - Points Allowed (37. 5 per game).
The Spring Game follows the largest bowl game collapse in Oregon Football history. Not to mention the team tied for the worst bowl game collapse in college football history, Head Coach Mark Helfrich demoted defensive coordinator Don Pellum to Linebackers coach, and former University of Michigan Head Coach, Brady Hoke, is now in his place.
Without even seeing a snap in this young season - the changes to the defense are swift and severe.
Hoke abolished the 3-4 scheme used by the Defensive Coordinators before him, and put the 4-3 system in place.
Speaking with the team, it's clear that implementing this new system will come with its fair share of trying times.
"We've totally swept the last defense; there's nothing the same," Senior Defensive Lineman Torrodney Prevot said.
"We have no calls the same - the signals are so different and we just have to come together and get on one page."
All in all, watch the defense as a unit. The secondary struggled the mightiest of them all just a season ago, however, the new system impacts everyone.
I'll be watching individual players, sure, but I'm most curious to see how the defense communicates and works as a unit come April 30.