Oregon Ducks Quarterback Crisis In Eugene? Not Even Close


Marcus Mariota looked superb in his NFL debut on Sunday, didn’t he? 13 for 16, 4 touchdown passes, and a perfect passer rating, to go with a 42-14 blowout win over rival Jameis Winston. Sunday was a near perfect day for the greatest player in Oregon football history. And while Oregon Ducks fans everywhere took solace in Mariota’s performance following the heart-wrenching defeat to Michigan State on Saturday, this win was after all, for the Titans.

Marcus Mariota is gone, and as the overused and beaten to a bloody pulp saying goes, “he isn’t walking through that door.”

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The current Oregon Ducks quarterback is Vernon Adams, who had a less than stellar outing on Saturday night. And now the mob has assembled to overthrow the former Eastern Washington Eagle, pitchforks and all. But replacing Vernon Adams offers no solution to the problem, it only builds upon it.

Consider this: Vernon Adams was less than 50 yards from pulling off an upset over the #5 team in the nation, on the road at hostile Spartan Stadium, while nursing an ailing right index finger. Oh, and let’s not forget that Adams has been in the Oregon program for less than a month. Who else could pull off such a seemingly impossible feat under the same circumstances? Marcus Mariota? Probably. Andrew Luck? Maybe so. But the vast majority of quarterbacks don’t get the job done in East Lansing on Saturday. Most Duck fans expected to plug Vernon Adams into the Oregon offense without any glitches, which is a lofty expectation. No matter how unstoppable you deem your offensive system to be, even an elite Joe Flacco couldn’t have saved the Ducks against the Spartans.

For the Jeff Lockie advocates: Jeff Lockie lost his starting job to a guy who didn’t start practicing until late August. What does that tell you about Jeff Lockie? Better yet, take a gander at Jeff Lockie’s statistics from his garbage time snaps. Lockie showed absolutely nothing of note that gave even the slightest indication that he was worthy of playing at the Division 1 level.

This most recent quarterback battle in Eugene isn’t Marcus Mariota vs. Bryan Bennett or even Nate Costa vs. Darron Thomas. Bryan Bennett’s talent shined through when called upon as a backup, especially when he led the Ducks back from a deficit against Arizona State. Jeff Lockie cannot say the same. And while the vast majority of the media ate up Oregon’s top players’ outward support of Lockie, few could see the underlying truth behind their cliche answers. Jeff Lockie never had the trust of this team. Royce Freeman, Charles Nelson, and Byron Marshall knew Jeff Lockie was never suitable to lead this team.

Perhaps a more reasonable resolution would be to give one of the younger quarterbacks all the snaps in preparation for the future. This proposal also has its faults, though it is a million times more reasonable than the hypothetical above.

Inserting a freshman or sophomore into the quarterback position, who has virtually no real experience is a symbolic raising of the white flag for the 2015 season. Do Ducks fans have the patience to let this progress develop? After a trip to the National Championship last season, I doubt it. Even worse, the season could wind up being a complete disaster. Forget a college football playoff berth, would Oregon even win six or seven games?

So, to those who want Vernon Adams gone: what is your solution? Let’s hear it.

The worst offense Vernon Adams has committed so far in his brief tenure at Oregon is not being Marcus Mariota. Reminder: no one on this years’ roster is either.

Was it Vernon Adams who enabled Connor Cook to shred apart the Ducks’ secondary with ease?

Was it Vernon Adams who allowed the Spartan running backs to break free for big runs?

Was it Vernon Adams who put on an abysmal display of pass rushing?

Marcus Mariota is gone, and never coming back. To hold his successors to the same set of standards is not only unfair but also impractical. Marcus Mariota’s come along once in a lifetime. The probability of seeing a quarterback of his caliber in a Duck uniform anytime soon is slim.

The 2015 season is still an open book. In late December, we could find the Ducks still with one loss and on the cusp of another college football playoff bid. We could also find the Ducks with three or more losses, on the verge of a trip to the Holiday Bowl.

If Duck fans still have faith in the former transpiring, put down the pitchforks and torches. Vernon Adams is your quarterback.