Addison Injury Will Test Inexperienced Oregon
By John Baker
You could almost hear the gasps when Oregon's leading wide receiver, Bralon Addison, crumpled to the ground with a non-contact injury last week. When it was revealed that he'd torn the ACL in his left knee, the groans among Ducks fans turned into outright pain, raising questions about an already-young receiving corps.
Addison was expected to be the heir apparent to departed Josh Huff after a 2013 campaign that produced 61 catches, 890 yards and seven scores for Addison. With Huff and De'Anthony Thomas graduating, the upcoming season was supposed to be his time to shine. Now the door is open for others, and Oregon needs people to step up.
Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly created an "up next" mindset to deal with injuries. That mindset has continued under Mark Helfrich. Now the Ducks and their untested receiving crew have a chance to practice what the program preaches.
Who's up next?
Keanon Lowe is known primarily as a blocker and situational receiver, but is also the most seasoned veteran of the group. After Lowe, the Ducks are looking for a breakout receiver from a large, inexperienced crew. Judging from speed and talent, there appears to be worthy candidates who could emerge, but potential and promise aren't the same as production. With Addison on the shelf likely for the entire 2014 season, the youngsters now have the chance to prove their worth.
Along with Lowe, junior B.J. Kelley, redshirt freshman Darren Carrington and sophomores Dwayne Stanford, Chance Allen and Devon Allen seem to be the most likely candidates to fill the hole. Lowe led the group with 18 catches last season, while Allen had five and Kelley collected only one. That's a mere 24 catches returning from last year's receiving corps. Carrington, who injured his hand on April 4, is ready to return. Offensive coordinator Scott Frost said last season that Carrington is the best scout team receiver the program has ever had.
Another name to watch is true freshman Jalen Brown, who arrived on campus this winter for spring practices. According to Andrew Greif of The Oregonian, Brown has looked good, but needs time to adjust to the pace of Oregon's workouts. Coaches have praised his intelligence and maturity, and Frost said that once Brown starts playing at full speed without thinking, he could be a solid addition. When that happens, however, is anyone's guess.
Just one week ago, the Ducks were looking to fill in around Addison. Now they face the daunting challenge of replacing him.