Thursday, October 8, 2009
The future is now for the Oregon secondary
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Yes, keeping up with Oregon's myriad injuries isn't easy. But Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard provides a helpful primer with this notebook.
To sum: Remember the talented 2008 secondary -- Patrick Chung, Jairus Byrd, Walter Thurmond and T.J. Ward -- which started 12 of 13 games together last year?
The crew starting at UCLA will be four entirely new parts -- a junior, two sophomores and a redshirt freshman.
Chung and Byrd are in the NFL. Thurmond suffered a season-ending knee injury. Ward is questionable for Saturday with a high ankle sprain. And Thurmond's senior backup, Willie Glasper, is also done for the season with a knee injury suffered this week.
That means the starting secondary figures to be sophomore Javes Lewis at rover (he started the first five games), redshirt freshman John Boyett at free safety (he's started the past four games for Ward), junior Talmadge Jackson at right corner (also a five-game starter) and sophomore Anthony Gildon at left corner (the third player to start in the spot this season).
Touted true freshman Cliff Harris also could be in the mix.
The Bruins are not a great passing team, but that rejiggered secondary surely raised an eyebrow or two in Westwood.
Toss in the likely absence of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (knee) and tackle C.E. Kaiser (shin), and the Ducks will face the Bruins without five starters (including running back LeGarrette Blount) on their preseason depth chart, and that only counts left cornerback once.