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Preseason Camp Preview: OL

Jul 31, 2022

OFFENSIVE LINE

Who's back: Oregon's offensive line was a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award as the top unit in the nation last season, and most of the players who contributed to that level of play are back as the 2022 season gets going. Alex Forsyth, Ryan Walk, Steven Jones, T.J. Bass and Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu each started at least nine games a year ago and returns this season. The Ducks also return some experienced depth in Jackson Powers-Johnson and Dawson Jaramillo, who will keep the returning starters from feeling too comfortable, and some talented younger guys poised to break through in Faaope Laloulu, Bram Walden and Marcus Harper II.

The developmental squad was taxed last fall due to some injuries to travel squad guys, forcing a small number of linemen on the offensive scout-team to play a high number of reps. The ability of guys like Kanen Rossi, Charlie Pickard, Cole Young and Bailey Jaramillo to push through and bank all that experience was huge for their progress. That should pay off for the Ducks going forward, giving the defense a solid look in practice.

Who's new: The depth of the offensive line has only been enhanced this offseason. Oregon's most recent recruiting class initially included Dave Iuli, Kawika Rogers and Michael Wooten, and the Ducks added five-star prospect Josh Conerly Jr. in April. Wooten enrolled for spring drills but was a limited participant.

The UO football program's push to involve more in-state talent to the team's depth included the addition of two offensive linemen for this camp, Holden Whipple out of Salem and Brayden Zolkoske from Portland. Each has prior collegiate eligibility under his belt.

What to watch: Position coach Adrian Klemm has to feel great about his offensive line heading into the start of camp. The veterans give the Ducks experience on the offensive line that is a hallmark of championship teams, while there's enough young talent to push for reps at pretty much every spot.

One guy to watch in particular in August will be Powers-Johnson, who at this point has played both ways on the line in his career, and is listed on the current roster on both offense and defense. He's a team-first guy who will tackle any challenge the coaches present him with, the kind of attitude and versatility that permeates this group up and down the roster.