January 29, 2009

Greatwood looks forward

For the last several years, the offensive line has been the steadiest unit on the field for the Ducks. Offensive line coach Steve Greatwood has consistently upgraded the quality of offensive line recruits coming to Oregon, and now is in a position where the young players the Ducks will rely upon are more likely to be ready.

This year will be a big challenge for the veteran Oregon coach following the graduation of six seniors. Greatwood knows he has the tools to get the job done, but also realizes it's going to take some effort to get there.

"I think I have a really good nucleus of players coming back," stated Greatwood. "Obviously I'm not going to have the depth I've had at times in the past, but I've got guys who started games I was very pleased with."

In the Ducks' dominant Holiday Bowl win over Oklahoma State, redshirt freshman Mark Asper had an encouraging performance in his first career start.

"Mark Asper got his first start in the bowl game at the right tackle and I was very pleased with the way he played," Greatwood said. "Whether he remains at tackle or moves inside to guard is another story. I actually think he's probably a little better suited at guard but because of depth we had to move him out. So now he's shown he has the ability to play."

Other young players will also have to be counted upon to log major minutes. Greatwood is confident they are up to the task.

"C.E. Kaiser, Bo Thran and Jordan Holmes are coming back, and then I have a host of young kids that will be very good," Greatwood explained. "I think with Darrion Weems, his time is close to coming. I'm very excited to get a look at the freshmen this spring, Hamani Stevens, Carson York and I'm sure I'm forgetting guys. They are going to be good players but they just are going to have to grow up in a hurry."

Could one of those players he forgot to mention be Nick Cody?

"Oh, absolutely. Nick will be in the mix, big kid, talented player."

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