‘We can roll eight-deep;’ Oregon OC Will Stein discusses offensive line depth

One of the primary things to watch throughout fall camp and early in the season for the Oregon Ducks is the offensive line play. After a stellar 2022 season that saw one of the nation’s best offensive lines deployed in Eugene, there will be a changing of the guard in 2023. Four of the five starters from last year’s unit have graduated from the program, and while there is a lot of talent to replace them, the cohesion will need to be smoothed out early in the season.

After Oregon’s 15th fall practice on Monday, offensive coordinator Will Stein was asked about that cohesion and the depth at the position in particular. What he had to say should be encouraging to Duck fans:

“I think we can roll eight deep, I really do,” Stein said.

While fans may be mostly concerned about the first five guys who will take the field up front, Stein’s confidence in the depth at OL is great to hear. With so much physicality in the trenches, it is rare that you make it through a season relying on only five linemen, so being able to go to as many as eight guys should keep the team rocking and rolling on the front line, especially at the start of the season.

“As you guys know, early in the year temperatures are up, so big boys sweat,” Stein said. “Big boys get a little tired out there. So the only way to really get into shape is to play real football. We can scrimmage all we want, we can practice all we want, but until we put the pads on going to Autzen Stadium on the turf, that type of energy is when you really know what you’re made up of upfront.”

The Ducks currently boast a good mix of experience and young talent on the line. Incoming transfers like Junior Angilau and Nishad Strother bring a veteran presence to the unit, meshing well with sixth-year senior Steven Jones. On the outsides, you have both Josh Conerly and Ajani Cornelius looking for their first season starting at the Power Five level. In between there are a handful of talented linemen who are fighting hard for spots on the depth chart.

“I feel good about our depth. You know, a lot of guys have played and there’s been some newcomers come on that we’re excited about,” Stein said.

Living up to the heights that were reached a year ago is going to be tough, but under a new OL coach in A’lique Terry, the Ducks feel confident that they can once again play to “the standard” that is being set in Eugene.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire