Anthony Brown has played in just two career games with Oregon football, but he’s about to be the most important player on a roster poised to make a playoff run in 2021.
Earlier this week, Mario Cristobal named the Boston College transfer his starting quarterback for the Ducks’ Week 1 game against Fresno State. It came as a bit of a surprise to those who believed Ty Thompson did enough to make a case but it shouldn’t have been that shocking given the fact he’s the veteran with multiple years of starting experience.
I even made the case for Thompson as QB1, but I had a gut feeling all along that Brown would be the guy since he was the leader in the quarterback room dating all the way back to spring ball.
There are some concerns with Brown despite him having control of the locker room and his teammates buying into him as QB1. In fact, one of the biggest concerns is his accuracy. He never completed more than 60 percent of his passes at Boston College in his three years there and although he completed 65 percent at Oregon last season, it was on just 23 attempts.
Brown did complete about 59 percent of his throws in his final season at Boston College but he did so on a career-low (at the time) 137 pass attempts. He has to prove that he’s capable of being an accurate passer on a consistent basis or his job could be in jeopardy. He’s an impressive athlete, but we’ve seen before that sometimes that’s just not enough.
How short will Brown’s leash truly be?
Look, I don’t think we’re going to see Brown lose his job against Fresno State in the opener because I can see him putting up big numbers or not even really needing to do much in order to lead the Ducks past the Bulldogs.
But Week 2 will be telling.
If Oregon struggles offensively against Ohio State and Brown makes multiple mistakes that lead to a big deficit, I could see one of the freshmen getting the nod to replace him.
I don’t see it taking longer than 1-2 poor games for Cristobal to make the change, especially since there’s a playoff berth on the line this season. If Oregon didn’t have high expectations, I’d say they’d just ride with Brown until the final game, but if he doesn’t lead the Ducks’ potent attack effectively, there should be a change.
Oregon has too many talented weapons on offense to be mediocre on that side of the ball. Anything less than a comfortable win against Fresno State and a close game against Ohio State should be grounds for a change.
I just don’t see Cristobal heading into conference play with a struggling quarterback.