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  Replacing a four-year starter is never easy and that's what Popo Aumavae will be asked to do for Oregon. Fortunately, this wasn't a plan hatched over a few months or via the transfer portal. The Ducks have loaded up the interior of their defensive line over the years in order to be ready to replace Jordon Scott, Austin Faoliu and others and Aumavae was among the early additions. He's had multiple years to play as the No. 2 nose tackle, closing 2019 strong and getting limited action last season. As important as Aumavae's readiness for the increased rep count will be at the top of the depth chart, the rotation behind him will be nearly as critical as several players vying to be on the two-deep have little game experience.

"These guys are truly competing," defensive line coach Joe Salave'a said. "We really have a real high competition going on within our defensive front room but it needs to be for us to grow and get to the level that we know we can be. That's the only way. Those guys have embraced that and they're helping each other, they're challenging each other." Aumavae had 10 tackles in just five games last season but there's not as much to make of his play in the short year until the last couple of weeks. He showed flashes of the kind of impact he can make as a starter during the 2019 season, when he had 15 stops with five for loss, including 3.5 sacks. - The Oregonian

(DS#11 DT) rSr/2023 DT Popo AumavaeOregon
News Source: The Oregonian



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