Oregon Quarterback Overview


It’s uncommon to talk Oregon football without talking quarterbacks.  The Duck football program is known for its dangerous spread offense and that has meant injury and quarterback controversy in the past.  It’s hard to forget watching Dennis Dixon’s collapse and the subsequent meltdown of the entire team against Arizona in 2007.  Oftentimes the pressure put on Oregon’s offense isn’t just the individual pressure on the quarterback to step up, lead and execute an intricate offense, but it’s also the concern of not having a strong back-up when the plan goes wrong.

There is no question that Darron Thomas, a junior, is Oregon’s guy this year and there’s even talk of the potential he has to become the Pac12 player of the year.  During 2010/2011 Thomas led Oregon to its first undefeated regular season in modern school history and solidified his reign at the QB position.  He was 222 of 361 with 2,881 yards and 30 touchdowns.  This year the air is thick with anticipation of what the current season will bring.  That anticipation was demonstrated in the form of a record crowd of 43,468 at the spring scrimmage game, which was held on Saturday, April 11th at Autzen Stadium.  Since that spring game Duck fans can sit back and breathe a little easier about the quarterback position because everything seems to be going according to plan.  Thomas led the Green squad to a 16 – 0 victory and was 15 of 21 for 129 yards with one interception.

Thomas understands that this year there is no question he must step up, stating, “This year, it’s just coming in and taking more of a leadership role.”  So far this spring the offense has had some struggles in practices and so the focus will certainly be on Thomas to fulfill that roll as team leader.  Part of that plan has come with the decision to start voluntary workouts two days a week after the spring game ended.

While Thomas seems to be settling into his role well so far, attention will be paid to the potential back-ups for the QB position.  As of now Bryan Bennett, a red-shirt freshman will be Thomas’ primary back-up.  Bennett, who seems to suit the spread offense well, secured this spot last season after Nate Costa suffered a knee injury.  So far this spring Bennett has been inconsistent in practices and still needs to get a solid grasp on the offense.  He led the White squad in the spring game and was 10 of 18 for 98 yards with one interception.  He also had 9 carries for 21 yards.

That leaves Dustin Haines, a sophomore, who has been limited to drills coming off a suspension after an April arrest, and Daryle Hawkins, also a sophomore, who has been spending most of his time elsewhere within the offense.  Due to the lack of real quarterback exposure for these two there has been talk of incoming freshman, Marcus Mariota in the #3 QB spot.

It is yet to be seen how this season will play out and the Ducks are hardly starting out with a quarterback controversy so all seems to be smooth sailing for the time being.  It just wouldn’t be a spectacular Duck season without a strong focus on the quarterback.  So Duck fans everywhere will continue to debate this position, anticipate the season’s outcome and become more and more excited for another amped up offensive season.