Unsung WR Addison Poised For Solid Year
By John Baker
While Oregon fans, and those across the country for that matter, will continue to look longingly at De'Anthony Thomas' tremendous skill set, as well as thank the football gods that Josh Huff is finally healthy and ready to terrorize opposing defenses, the guy who could be the key to the Oregon passing game just goes about his business — and business is good.
DAT will play all over the field, while Keanon Lowe and Huff are the likely starting receivers. But if the spring of 2013 has shown anything about the Ducks' receiving corps, it's that Bralon Addison has carved out a very large, very valuable niche within it. He and quarterback Marcus Mariota got off to an interesting start to 2012, with Addison seemingly coming out of nowhere to catch 15 passes in the first five games. As the offense became more diverse and other receiving options developed, Addison found his opportunities shrinking and caught few passes as the season came to an end.
Through the highs and lows, coaches and teammates marveled at how mature Addison was and that his work ethic didn't suffer. He'd been bloodied in the arena of big-time college football and hadn't been broken. That toughness and maturity manifested themselves into a hell of a spring, where Addition made plays virtually every day and culminated in a spring game in which he had eight catches for 136 yards and a score.
After the spring game, Mariota said that Addison had set the bar high for himself on the first day of spring practice and has continued to push the bar higher throughout the spring.
"He could be a huge player for us," said Mariota. "I'm really looking forward to seeing his growth."
Coming off a 22-catch season in 2012, Addison looks primed to double that this season. While Huff and DAT will deliver the "wow" factor in Oregon's big-play offense, Addison will add that vital component of making key third-down catches and keeping drives alive with his own style of big plays. Often lost in Oregon's pinball style offense is the caveat that for every big play delivered, a slew of key shorter plays have helped set the table.
Addison, who is no plodder himself, will get to feed off the attention that will be directed at stopping the running game, then paying attention to DAT, Huff, Lowe and tight end Colt Lyerla.
A year ago, seven Ducks had 20 or more catches (with Will Murphy getting 19). Expect that type of distribution to continue, particularly with everybody and his brother expecting head coach Mark Helfrich to throw it a little more with a much more experienced Mariota under center. And Addison, while not considered a "starter," seems poised to see plenty of passes from Mariota in 2013.
Enjoy the big plays from DAT, Huff, Lowe and Lyerla in this year's passing game, but appreciate the key plays Addison seems destined to make. Oregon's offense can't have one without the other.