hip and Rose Bowl, it sent off a shock-wave of support for the team that has continued to build steam ever since, culminating in a national championship appearance and Rose Bowl victory.I the 90
s Oregon offensive lineman Steve Hardin (#77) tipped the scales at 330+, but even he was dwarfed by fellow OL Tasi Malepeai, playing around 360. Who said these Ducks were small?Like a tsunami wave, each season-and critics might say each uniform combination-has been a step forward in building towards this exact type of run of success onthe field fans have enjoyed the last five years or so. The Ducks may not have always had the most talent, size, or depth, but they have played smarter and faster, bigger and better with each year.Other teams may not want to admit it, but the biggest waves started by those past Ducks have yet to hit shore. Fans of other teams may be hoping the loss of LaMichael, starting a new QB, or the “certain-to-be” harsh pending NCAA sanctions willsomehow ebb the Ducks’ tide, or at least knock them off their perch a little.Sure, the Ducks may have been undersized, under-skilled, or otherwise lacking depth compared to the nation’s top 10 in some of those years along the way, and fortoo many seasons a few injuries here or there would expose a hole in the armor derailing an otherwise special group.But, this next season?It might be time to finally throw all of that out the window. This year, despitethe undersized talking point that will inevitably be associated with spread offenses permanently, the Ducks have the size to go along with all of the speed andsizzle.The season kicks off for the defending Rose Bowl Champions in a little over a month, the launch of the 2012 season officially commencing earlier this week withPac-12 Media Day. This day is a small annual oasis in the desert-wasteland thatis the long summer months, as the anticipation to college football season grows. The Ducks this year had Chip Kelly, Kenjon Barner, and Michael Clay representing the men of Oregon. The Q&A at these events is a mere formality, the real story isn’t what is said as much as the signal the event provides–football is on the horizon.In one of the first questions directed towards the Ducks, specifically to seniorlinebacker Michael Clay, a reporter permeated the myth further, asking about “lacking what the tougher, heavier defenses have in the south, and how do you shakethis stereotype?”Chip Kelly ultimately interjected, and provided an answer, citing “we have guys that go up to 295 and 300, and they run as well as anybody in the country…”Clearly Coach Kelly, the players, and Oregon fans alike have grown weary of having to constantly respond to this stereotype, that spread offense = lack of sizethat will get exposed vs. a “real” defense. Match this with “the spread doesn’t preparean athlete for the NFL” and “it’s just a gimmick offense” and you’ve got the trifecta of ignorance, a frustrating display of misconceptions permeated by media and those who feel perception defines reality.Like many, I’ve grown weary of hearing about the supposed size disadvantage stereotype, I mean, how much bigger can they really be? I wonder if the Ducks are actually bigger than some of the SEC teams?What I discovered may surprise you.