Saturday was a fun day for Duck fans. They got a little taste of the whole offensive explosion that was underutilized a season ago.
On the other side though, we’ve seen point guards flashing through the secondary and advancing along the defensive line with several veterans this spring.
Here are some of the best defensive players from the Spring Game.
1. OLB DJ Johnson
DJ Johnson himself had a day for the green team. He finished the day with seven total tackles, four sacks and five tackles for loss.
Admittedly, it’s hard to weigh the significance of those stats as the quarterback is off limits, but it was nearly impossible to miss the impact Johnson had on defense. He imposed his will from start to finish and further solidified himself as the Ducks’ top pass thrower heading into 2022.
After spending time playing back and forth last season, it looks like the staff are intent on making him a full-time member of the top seven.
2. Trikweze Bridges
Bridges entered the spring as one of Oregon’s most experienced defensive backs. After coming to Eugene as a security guard, he spent the 2021 season on the corner.
Now, it looks like he’s ready for a bigger role as a security. However, he bounced between the two spots to help the Ducks figure out how they can better adapt to losses. Verona McKinley III, DJ James and Mykael Wright.
He looked quite comfortable on Saturday and had a significant impact, especially when he intercepted a Ty Thompson pass for spencer webb and sent it back for a touchdown. Wherever he ends up lining up in the secondary, he becomes a more reliable member of Lanning’s defense.
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3. LB Jackson LaDuke
LaDuke looked like a much more established and polished linebacker in Oregon’s spring game. After battling the injury bug for much of his first two seasons, he also had to overcome COVID to get back on the pitch last year.
Linebacker is perhaps the deepest positional group in this defense, but with justin flowe Still working after a serious injury, the Ducks may need LaDuke to take on a bigger role in the meantime.
He was hitting offensive linemen en route to six total tackles and 1.5 sacks. have a linebacker who can provide a push in the middle other than Noah Sewell will make this defense even more dangerous and increase its depth.
Honorable Mention: CB Jahlil Florence
Florence was one of the players we watched closely in the spring, mostly because he’s an early registrant and plays in a position where the Ducks are pretty skinny.
His highlight of the day was the interception of a grown man from a Jay Butterfield pass for Isaac Croker, snatching the ball from his hands in the air on a much-contested hold. It was encouraging to see him bounce back after giving up a long touchdown take to Don’t do Thornton.
Aside from that game, it seems to adapt quite well to the speed of college play.
Related: The Game’s Offensive Players
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