Oregon welcomes back 14 starters from a team that beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and finished 12-2 and No. 4 in the nation. Two headliners, however, are gone in running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas. While James was often spectacular, experienced backup Kenjon Barner is a proven commodity, and everyone saw what De'Anthony Thomas can do in the Rose Bowl. The more intriguing question is replacing Darron Thomas, with Marcus Mariota surging with a strong spring game in his competition with Bryan Bennett. But it is the Ducks' defense, not their fancy-pants offense, that makes this squad a national title contender. With A-list talent at all three levels, word in Eugene is this could be the program's best unit since the days of Gang Green.
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