A conversation with A'lique Terry about the past, present and future of Oregon's offensive line
"I didn’t want to be part of the piece that sent that backwards," says Terry on continuing the legacy of Oregon's strong offensive lines.
Were there reasons to doubt Oregon’s offensive line going into the 2023 season?
The Ducks had to replace multiple starters from a very good 2022 offensive line — including giving Bo Nix a first-time center in Jackson Powers-Johnson. Couple that with offensive line coach Adrian Klemm leaving for the NFL and replacing him with a 20-something and, well, yeah, maybe the NIL at Oregon was really that much better than everyone else’s to convince Nix to stick around another season in Eugene.
Again, there were reasons. But they were bad reasons.
Powers-Johnson won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s best center, the Ducks were a finalist for the Joe Moore Award and A’lique Terry, that new O-Line coach born after ‘The Pick’, just picked up a national coach of the year award from Our Coaching Network.
The I-5 Corridor caught up with Terry to talk about coaching this group one last time, what makes Powers-Johnson so successful and what he learned from his first stint at Oregon under Mario Cristobal and Alex Mirabal.
But let’s begin with talk of the new guys coming in.
What do you take away from this year’s signing class?
I think we did a tremendous job of filling out the needs of our team. A lot of times in recruiting, you get guys that just want to go after the biggest names, but I think we did a good job of not only getting the best names, but getting the best names where we need them to fit and is necessary for our future. I think going into the Big Ten we did a tremendous job of getting some size both in the trenches and also with our skill guys. There’s some really good players in this class. There’s going to be a lot of young guys who make an impact early.
How do you identify amongst the top-talent you’re able to choose from?
The one thing we look for from an offensive line standpoint is we’re looking for high-character buttholes. We want guys who are great in the community, great in the room and can get along with everybody. But you turn the film on you can clearly see that they’re a butthole, that they’re trying to be extra and trying to drive people into the earth. Those kinds of things. Then there’s the size component. The athleticism component. We got a guy in this past signing class, Trent Ferguson, who is kind of new to football and you can see everything he does from a skill/athleticism standpoint that once we get this thing cooking he’s going to be a special talent.
Then you got somebody like Shaq (Jac’Qawn McRoy) down in Alabama whose high school coach is really good, and he’s really polished — and he’s also 6-7, 370 pounds. So there’s going to be differences in the guys, but at the end of the day, you look for guys who are going to be finishers who are big and athletic.
When you were at Oregon in 2019 as a Graduate Assistant, what do you remember then about Jackson Powers-Johnson’s recruitment?
It was the coolest thing ever — the other day he won the Rimington and his dad sent me a text like, ‘I remember when this young GA said if you trust us you’ll win the Rimington here.’