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Season In Review: O Line

Jan 18, 2022

Reviewing Oregon's 2021 season and looking ahead to spring drills.

DEPTH CHART
LT: T.J. Bass, Jr.; Dawson Jaramillo, So.; Jonah Miller, Fr.; Bailey Jaramillo, Fr.;
LG: George Moore, Sr.; Faaope Laloulu, Fr.; Charlie Pickard, Fr.; Logan Sagapolu, Fr. (inj.)
C: Alex Forsyth, Jr.; Jackson Powers-Johnson, Fr.; Kai Arneson, Fr.; Kanen Rossi, Fr.; Jonathan Denis, Fr. (inj.)
RG: Ryan Walk, Jr.; Marcus Harper II, Fr.; Devin Lewis, So.
RT: Steven Jones, So./Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Jr.; Jaylan Jeffers, Fr.; Cole Young, RFr.; Bram Walden, Fr. (inj.)

Starters: A year after four offensive linemen started every game of the 2020 season, the Ducks had multiple players start at all five spots on the line over the course of the 2021 season, and only T.J. Bass started all 14 games. A combination of injuries — most notably to Alex Forsyth and Ryan Walk — and position swapping led to the lineup fluctuation; at one point the Ducks went six games in a row with each featuring a different starting five along the line. Along with the injuries to Forsyth and Walk, the line also saw some midseason position changes, with George Moore and Steven Jones moving inside from tackle to guard, and Bass moving outside from guard to tackle.

Thankfully, the group had ample experience together banked from the 2020 season, and was able to adjust on the fly. Despite all that upheaval, Oregon's offensive line was one of the more productive units in the Pac-12 Conference and a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award as the nation's best. As an offense the Ducks finished fourth in the league in rushing yards per game (202.36) and third in yards per carry (5.29), and the offensive line allowed 24 sacks in 14 games; the average of 1.71 sacks allowed per game also was fourth in the Pac-12 for the 2021 season.

Reserves: Due to all the shuffling, six players started at least nine games on the line in 2021 — Forsyth, Walk, Bass, Moore, Jones and Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu. The other player to start for the Ducks on the offensive line was true freshman Jackson Powers-Johnson, who missed some time due to injury late in the year but returned in time to switch sides of the ball and start the Alamo Bowl at nose tackle. The next man up was Dawson Jaramillo, a Swiss Army knife in the mold of 2019 senior Calvin Throckmorton who could play any position on the line. Marcus Harper II practiced extensively with the No. 2 offensive line and made five games appearances in 2021, and Kai Arneson and Jaylan Jeffers were both regulars with the No. 2 line by season's end. A handful of linemen who might have been with that group were sidelined by injuries suffered at some point in the fall, including Faaope Laloulu, Jonathan Denis, Bram Walden and Logan Sagapolu.

Developmental squad: The trickle-down effect from those injuries meant that the scout-team offensive line had to be a bunch of iron men, playing pretty much every snap in practice. That included the likes of Kanen Rossi, Charlie Pickard, Devin Lewis, Cole Young and Bailey Jaramillo. Freshman Jonah Miller began the season recovering from injury, spent some time with the developmental squad and by season's end was also getting some reps with the travel squad.

ROB'S TAKE

SPRING PROJECTION
LT: T.J. Bass, Sr.; Dawson Jaramillo, Jr.; Jonah Miller, RFr.; Bailey Jaramillo, RFr.;
LG: Ryan Walk, Jr.; Faaope Laloulu, Fr.; Charlie Pickard, Fr.
C: Alex Forsyth, Jr.; Jackson Powers-Johnson, Fr.; Kanen Rossi, Fr.; Jonathan Denis, Fr. (inj.)
RG: Steven Jones, So.; Marcus Harper II, Fr.; Cole Young, RFr.;
RT: Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Jr.; Jaylan Jeffers, Fr.; Bram Walden, Fr. (inj.)

What To Watch: Oregon's offense will look quite different in 2022 at other positions, but not up front. Although Moore has graduated, the other returning starters all announced they intend to return in the fall and compete again for the Ducks. Most notably, Aumavae-Laulu initially declared he was leaving for the draft, then announced he would remain at Oregon, a credit to the faith built up by the new coaching staff in just a short time. The Ducks did lose some depth to the transfer portal, but with Jaramillo and Powers-Johnson back there is experience behind the returning starters -- though the versatility Powers-Johnson showed in the bowl game opens up multiple options for his future. And young linemen like Denis, Harper, Laloulu, Jeffers, Walden and Miller remain brimming with talent to be developed by the new staff.