Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Early Looks: S Patrick Chung (Oregon)
"Everybody Wang Chung tonight!" Once an oft-quoted phrase throughout the 80's by uber-fans of the British New Wave band, Wang Chung, it has new meaning for friends and foes of Oregon S Patrick Chung during these more contemporary and less-florescent times. Bursting on to the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2005 as the starting rover for the Ducks, Chung has since asserted himself as one of the most exciting and productive players to ever play defense at Oregon. Hailing from Rancho Cucamonga, California, the 6'0'' 210 lb. Chung was a bit of a late bloomer, not really registering on the recruiting radar of most Pac-10 schools coming out of high school as a precocious 16 year old. Going into this, his Senior season, Chung has overwhelmingly exceeded expectations, accounting for virtually 300 career tackles (292 to be exact) and 8 career interceptions, earning All-Pac-10 honors (2005, 2006, 2007) and second-team All-America honors (2007) along the way.
Chung's greatest strength could be his outstanding versatility. A jack of all trades who is capable of playing all four positions in the secondary, Chung is blessed with not only great speed and athleticism, but impressive ruggedness and tenacity in run support. His pursuit to the ball is uncanny and when he arrives to deliver a hit, he's like actor Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men, usually reaching his destination angry and with ill intent. Understands angles very well and is a tremendous form tackler, registering in the top three in team tackles in each of his three seasons in Eugene (lead team in tackles in '07). Possesses terrific range at the rover position in Oregon's defensive scheme and always appears to be in the middle of the action during every play; a consummate play maker. In addition to being a defensive stalwart, Chung is also a terror on special teams, both as a return man and as a threat in punt block situations.
One particular area where Chung could stand to improve in is his overall cover skills, specifically in man-to-man. While he excels in zone coverage due to his unparalleled freelancing abilities, he definitely seems to struggle in one-on-one situations where he's asked to blanket a receiver or tight end of comparable athleticism. Doesn't track the ball especially well in flight, particularly when he's forced to turn his head back toward the ball while maintaining close contact with the receiver, and in general, Chung lacks the overall ability to flip his hips and turn and run with receivers consistently.
Outlook: With the way the 2007 season ended for Oregon, Chung has to be motivated for a monster Senior campaign. After coming within literally minutes of foregoing his final season in Eugene, Chung is back patrolling the secondary at Autzen alongside returning All-Pac-10 corners, Walter Thurmond III (Jr.) and Jairus Byrd (Jr.). Headlined by Chung, the trio helps shape what should be one of the most formidable secondaries in the entire country. If Chung is at all able to duplicate the kind of performance he put together last season, he should expect to go no later than the second round of the '09 Draft.
Noteworthy games: Sept 13th at Purdue; Oct 4th at USC; Oct 25th at Arizona State