Oregon opened spring practice Thursday and several players have a chance to gain or lose a lot of ground as it relates to playing time over the next six weeks.
The Ducks are installing a new offense and several spots on the two-deep are up for grabs, especially on defense.
Some starting jobs will not be determined until the summer and fall camp, but many will be sorted out by the end of the April 29 spring game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
Here are five Oregon players with the most to gain and five with the most to lose during spring practice, with an emphasis on potential to see a dramatic movement on the depth chart.
Gain: Edge rushers Jordan Burch, Matayo Uiagalelei
Oregon has to identify more pass rushers after back-to-back dreadful seasons getting to the passer. Jordan Burch comes in as a proven SEC edge player at South Carolina and presumptive instant impact starter to replace DJ Johnson, but he has to take it. That shouldn’t necessarily be difficult, but Burch will be facing real competition from Oregon’s offensive tackles in practice as well.
Matayo Uiagalelei has a chance to learn the defense and face experienced offensive linemen this spring. He doesn’t have to prove capable of starting Week 1 as a true freshman after 15 spring practices, but he has a chance to earn his way into significant early playing time.
Gain: Cornerbacks Jahlil Florence, Cole Martin
The Ducks have a lot of question marks at corner after Trikweze Bridges. Dontae Manning is more experienced than Jahlil Florence and Cole Martin is one of the true freshmen on campus, but they’ll get chances in a crowded room. Florence was on campus last spring and played well for a true freshman last season. He could contend for at least a spot on the two-deep. Martin, the son of cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin, could push to surpass more experienced players.
Gain: Punter Luke Dunne
Oregon’s punting position is wide open for the taking. Luke Dunne could go a long way to locking down the job and putting special teams at ease after a brutal 2022 season for the position. An argument can be made that games were lost due to special teams issues.
Lose: Defensive linemen Jake Shipley, Macael Afaese
Between churn on the edges and a lot of proven experience on the interior defensive line, Jake Shipley is caught in between and facing competition from all sides. Macael Afaese is coming off an injury but is also in a tough spot with four seniors atop the depth chart and three freshmen already on campus on the interior of the line.
Lose: Cornerbacks Avante Dickerson, Darren Barkins
At a position that Oregon struggled to find consistency last season besides from Christian Gonzalez, Avanate Dickerson and Darren Barkins got very few opportunities.
The competition is only increasing and many more freshmen are due to arrive later this offseason. If they can’t carve out roles by the end of spring they risk falling behind incoming players.
Lose: Safety Daymon David
David entered the portal only to return last summer. He didn’t get a lot of reps at deep safety and his position coach changed this winter.
There’s a logjam at the top of the depth chart at safety, freshmen coming in and David is entering his junior season.
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