Early look: Experienced offensive line a foundation for Oregon football
This story is the first of six in a summer series breaking down Oregon football by position group leading up to the first official practices before the season.
Five players who started at least eight games up front in 2021 return to the Oregon offensive line in 2022, a nice foundation for the first season under Dan Lanning and a legacy, of sorts, from Mario Cristobal's time leading the program.
It's an experienced group: Alex Forsyth and Ryan Walk are entering their sixth year in Eugene, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and T.J. Bass are sixth-year seniors who transferred to Oregon in 2019, and fifth-year junior Steven Jones has played in 21 consecutive games.
George Moore, who started 13 games at either left tackle or left guard, is the one key departure after using up his eligibility.
West Linn's Forsyth has been the Ducks' starter at center when healthy the past two seasons and was a second-team Pac-12 all-conference pick last season. He enters the year with 26 games under his belt. A back injury cost him four games last season, and Walk moved to center in his absence.
A Eugene native, Walk is the projected starting right guard after playing both there and center in nine games last season before his year was cut short by injury.
Aumavae-Laulu has been the Ducks' primary right tackle the past two seasons.
Bass, at left guard, was Oregon's lone first-team all-conference selection on offense in 2021. He has played 20 of a possible 21 games since transferring to Oregon prior to the abbreviated 2020 season.
The only projected backups who have played are sophomore Jackson Powers-Johnson and junior Dawson Jaramillo. Powers-Johnson played both on the defensive line and offensive line as a freshmen, and worked at center in the spring.
Jaramillo, out of Lake Oswego, played in four games last season and could be a versatile depth player.
Sophomores Faaope Laloulu and Marcus Harper figure to provide depth at guard.
The big question: How much impact can true freshman Josh Conerly Jr. make? The five-star recruit surprised when he chose Oregon over USC this spring and is one of the most-touted line recruits to come to the Ducks. Another touted recruit joining the Ducks is Dave Iuli.
Under Cristobal, the Ducks moved linemen around and used their depth. That versatility came in handy when injuries happened. Time will tell how new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, most recently the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, deploys players. Klemm, a backup linemen for the New England Patriots for four seasons and for Green Bay for one season, has coached at SMU and UCLA. At those programs, Klemm was recognized for his recruiting and for developing a number of all-conference performers.
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