Oregon’s backup quarterback race -- which was a talking point all spring for the Ducks -- seems to be a bit more defined now considering one player has taken himself out of the discussion.
Despite the fact quarterback Jake Rodrigues came out of Oregon’s spring practices looking like the backup and heir apparent to Marcus Mariota, the redshirt sophomore has decided to transfer. That leaves Jeff Lockie, the other redshirt sophomore quarterback on the roster, as the backup by default.
Coach Mark Helfrich was hesitant to name a definitive backup all through the spring season. Even after Rodrigues looked like the more complete signal-caller in the spring game, Helfrich still didn’t specify what he’d do if the Ducks were to find themselves in need of a QB if Mariota weren’t able to play.
Since Helfrich brought in two quarterbacks in the 2012 class, Lockie has been in a position where he has been fighting a classmate for the backup role behind Mariota. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares now that he is the guy behind the guy. If he doesn’t step up, Helfrich certainly has other options -- two redshirt freshmen, Taylor Alie and Damion Hobbs, as well as 2014 signee Morgan Mahalak.
With Mariota at the helm for another season, the Ducks should be fine, but the really interesting part of this seems to be the timing of Rodrigues’ decision. Rodrigues told CSNNW that his decision was completely based on football.
However, had Rodrigues decided after last season that Oregon football wasn’t working for him, he could’ve transferred during the winter. Though he would’ve still been ineligible to play in 2014, he could’ve been at a school for spring practice. This would’ve given him a chance to become acquainted with a new system, coaching staff and teammates. But since he didn’t make the decision until after the spring -- a spring in which he appeared by most accounts to be the go-to backup -- he now puts himself a bit behind the 8-ball in terms of transfer options.
So it appears as though Oregon quarterbacks -- those still on the roster, and those looking for another roster -- will continue to be an interesting issue this summer.