Kelly was asked how Thomas compared to his other Oregon QBs. That, of course, means former QB Jeremiah Masoli came up.
"He's ahead of where Jeremiah was three games in, I can tell you that," he said.
It's not an exact comparison. Masoli was a JC transfer who had just arrived at Oregon in the summer of 2008, and he didn't make his first start until game four (Justin Roper started the first three, though Masoli played extensively in two of the three) and he was promptly knocked out of that game (Boise State). Thomas is a redshirt sophomore who's in his third year with the program, so his knowledge of Kelly's system is far more extensive.
That said: Thomas' numbers are better than Masoli's. Way better.
In his first three full games as the starter, Masoli's QB efficiency rating was 109.46. Thomas presently ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with a 148.8 rating.
Masoli, you might recall, was all over the place his first year. In start three of our tally vs. UCLA, he only completed 5 of 19 passes. Of course, he rushed for 170 yards after showing little as a runner in the previous five games.
Of course, Kelly surely would like Thomas to produce like Masoli did over the final three games of 2008 when he completed 50 of 75 passes (67 percent) for 830 yards and six touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed 38 times for 248 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and seven scores.
That's 13 TDs in three games.
But it's clear that Kelly is pretty darn satisfied with the early-season performance of Thomas. And, really, how disappointing can the QB of the nation's No. 1 offense be?
"I think Darron has been tremendous," Kelly said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do. He's been really smart with the ball."
Oh, and let's just add this: Thomas ranks 27th in the nation in passing efficiency. Over at Ole Miss, Masoli ranks 60th.