Oregon midterm grades: Offense

The Oregon Ducks have a bye-week before facing the California Bears a week from Thursday. Duck Sports Authority takes the opportunity to provide the Ducks with their first midterm grades.
Letter grades are determined by taking an average of the weekly grades as issued by DSA analysts A.J. Jacobson and John Copp.
Overall B One would think that being second in the nation in scoring at 52.0 per game would be enough to get into the 'A' range. Normally it would, but the C- against LSU dragged this grade down. The offense has been steadily good since the sluggish performance in Arlington, and posted its most impressive performance of the year against a quality opponent in Tucson on Saturday. So far this season the Ducks have shown adequate balance, averaging 299.5 yards rushing and 234.25 yards passing per game.
QB B Like all the offensive grades, the QB unit was hurt by its LSU grade of C-. After only four games, it is tough to fully recover grade-wise from a poor outing. So far, Darron Thomas has thrown 66 times for 842 yards, 12 TD's and 1 INT. He is 19th in the nation in passing efficiency with a 161.41 rating and is 51st in the nation in total offense at 235.25 yards per game. Thomas is 8th in the nation in points responsible for at 21.0 per game. Redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett has gotten some valuable experience, participating against Nevada and Missouri State with seven passes in 13 tries for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
OL B+ The offensive line has been surprisingly good this year given the heavy graduation from the 2010 squad. The group actually has the highest rating of any position at this point of the season (3.42 of 4.0), and started the year right by being the highest rated offensive unit against LSU with a B-. After four games, the offensive line has only given up one sack. While they have given up 17 tackles for loss, those only amount to a total of 34 yards lost. Oregon is averaging 7.4 yards per rush after four games. Guard Carson York has been standing out for this group with four solid starts, and redshirt freshman Hroniss Grasu has exceeded expectations.
RB B+ Aside from a letdown against LSU, this unit has been very good and reliable so far in 2011. The second highest rated offensive unit after four games (3.34) Gary Campbell's group has been led by LaMichael James who is averaging 153.2 yards per game rushing, to go with nine touchdowns. Kenjon Barner has been limited to two games with injury, but has two touchdowns and 39.5 yard per game average. The two freshman have been very good, with De'Anthony Thomas and Tra Carson contributing early and often to the team, something few freshman running backs have proven capable of doing.
TE B- The tight end group has been good in the blocking department, but hasn't been overly used through the air. David Paulson has seven grabs for 48 yards and a touchdown on the year, and freshman backup Colt Lyerla has three catches for 53 yards and three touchdowns.
WR C+ The wide receiver group has been underused for the most part. Much of Oregon's passing is to players other than wideouts, so the group is blocking more often than not on any given play. Lavasier Tuinei is standing out as the team's leading receiver with 15 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns. JC transfer junior Rahsaan Vaughn is tied for second on the team in catches with Josh Huff at six. Vaughn and Huff both have added a touchdown.
Stay tuned this week as Duck Sports Authority will be releasing the defense and special teams grades while the Duck team takes a breather.