The Oregon Ducks are one of the nation’s most successful programs and have one of college football’s most impressive rosters.
That’s what you’d expect from a team with the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in the country, but the Ducks also have the worst record in the nation.
The Ducks’ defense, which ranks 23rd nationally, is atrocious.
The Ducks allowed 31 points per game in 2016 and the 2017 season was a different story.
The defense has allowed more than 25 points per contest in only six games this season.
The Oregon defense allowed just three touchdowns against Oregon State in 2017.
That defense was the best unit in the Pac-12 last season.
But this year, the defense has given up just three points per possession against Oregon, the third-best mark in the conference.
The next worst unit in conference play was Washington State, which allowed just five points per possessions against the Ducks last season and the third worst against Oregon.
Injuries to both of the starting defensive backs have contributed to this weakness.
Oregon had the second-worst defense in the league in 2016.
That unit surrendered 24.3 points per play and allowed just 20.8 points per outing.
Oregon is going to need help on the offensive side of the ball to have a chance against the likes of Oregon State and Washington State.
That includes QB Marcus Mariota, who was a second-team All-Pac-12 pick last season, and the returning senior quarterbacks Jake Browning and Zach Mayes.
The first-team all-Pac 12 selection, Mariota will likely be the Ducks’ No. 2 quarterback.
Mariota was the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft and was the most experienced quarterback in the class.
The second-year pro had a career year in 2016, throwing for 4,928 yards with 21 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
Mariot averaged a career-best 3,742 yards passing in his sophomore season and he had a stellar season in 2017, throwing 15 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.
He finished the year with the highest passer rating on the Ducks offense (101.3) and he has the potential to be a very good quarterback in Eugene.
The other quarterback returning is redshirt freshman Jake Brown, who had a breakout year in 2017 throwing for 3,983 yards with 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Brown was the Ducks top receiving threat last season with nine touchdowns and four receptions.
Mariutas top receiver, Corey Davis, was a two-time All-American in 2017 with three touchdowns.
Davis had an outstanding year in his senior season with 13 touchdowns and 12 receptions.
He is also a physical quarterback who could be very dangerous in a deep passing attack.
The defensive front seven is going with the first-round pick in 2018.
The secondary will feature six players that were drafted in the first round last season: cornerbacks Byron Jones, Justin Gilbert, Haason Reddick, Ryan Robinson, and Tre’Quan Smith.
The top three cornerbacks in this group are cornerbacks Justin Gilbert (6-1, 200), Haason Jones (6, 0, 193) and Trae Waynes (6 1/2, 186).
This unit is going for an All-America caliber defensive front.
The cornerbacks will be on the field together with the safety position will be led by safety Jourdan Lewis, who played for the Ducks at the Senior Bowl.
The safeties will be anchored by the two-year starter in Jordan Matthews.
Matthews is the second defensive back selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Matthews will be competing with redshirt junior corner Marcus Lattimore for the starting spot opposite Mariota.
The depth at cornerback is very good, but there is a chance Mariota could play this season and then Matthews could start this season, which is a big concern.
The linebackers will be lead by four-year senior safety Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
Reeves-Junior has played in every game of his senior year and has started every game in his career.
He has played all five games this year and he was the team’s MVP last year.
He had four interceptions and was a key player in the Ducks victory over Arizona State.
He will have competition for a starting job with senior standout cornerback Darnell Allen.
Allen started five games in his first two seasons and he missed three games with an injury.
In addition to Allen, redshirt senior linebacker Marcus Lee will have a shot at the starting job opposite Mariot.
He missed two games with a hamstring injury and played in four games.
Safety Justin Davis is also the team leader with seven interceptions and he played in all 16 games last year for Oregon.
The front seven will also feature two-and-out cornerback Justin Smith, who led the Ducks with six interceptions last season but was injured in the opener against Washington State and missed the rest of the season.
Oregon also has a pair of freshmen starting at cornerback: