EUGENE, OR - With the loss of senior John Boyett due to double knee surgery, the Ducks not only lost a four-year starter, but a veteran leader on the defense. Replacing Boyett at free safety is junior Avery Patterson who teammates say plays much bigger than his 5-10, 185-pound frame.
"Avery just brings his ferocity and tenacity," said junior strong safety Brian Jackson. "He's really pitt bull when it comes to playing football out there. So, it'll be good to watch him play along side me again."
"He's a warrior," said defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. "He just plays so hard. He just has a passion for the game. He's very intelligent."
Junior linebacker Boseko Lokombo likens Patterson to another, now former collegiate defensive back from the SEC.
"Avery, he might be small, but he's a fighter," said Lokombo. "He's a scrapper. He kind of reminds me of the honey badger."
Patterson did start last Saturday against Fresno State, making three solo tackles in the Ducks' 42-25 victory. He also played last season as a back-up and key special teamer. Patterson blocked a punt against Washington State which was returned for a touchdown by Lokombo.
Patterson feels he's ready to be the starter.
"I'm definitely prepared," said Patterson. "I've practiced all spring and all fall camp. I got the reps. I've got all last year. I'm prepared to step up. It's my time. I've been preparing since day one."
Preparation was the name of the game for Boyett. Teammates called him a film rat. Dion Jordan said he would be calling out the opposing team's plays during the game. Most of the time he was right.