New Mexico quarterback Brad Gruner suffered a torn MCL during Monday's practice. Gruner will have an MRI Thursday, but Locksley is optimistic that Gruner’s injury will not require surgery and will only keep him out 4-6 weeks.
Before Gruner’s injury Locksley said, if he had to name a starting quarterback, B.R. Holbrook would get the nod. But Locksley isn’t ready to make such a proclamation anymore.
Although Holbrook completed 17 of 22 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown during Saturday’s scrimmage and has separated himself from Gruner and Tate Smith, Locksley said he promised incoming freshmen Stump Mitchell and Tarean Austin a fair shot at the starting position in the fall.
“We’re not going to name a starter until August,” Locksley said. “We’re using this spring, the three on campus are battling. But they all know that we’ve got to get through spring ball and see. The two freshmen that we recruited have both been told that they’re going to have an opportunity for a starting job once we get into camp. So, depending on how fast they can develop and come along will dictate us announcing who our starter will be for Oregon.”
Holbrook will likely be the only healthy scholarship quarterback for the final seven spring practices with Gruner out and Smith already limited because of offseason shoulder surgery. Recently, he’s been sidelined with a slight tear in his upper back muscle.
Locksley wants offensive production from his starter. Last season, the Lobos ranked 103rd in total offense (315.33 yards per game) and 113th in scoring offense (16.33 points per game).
“The big thing with quarterbacks, and I think Bill Parcels may have said it best, is that statistics don’t mean anything at the quarterback position” Locksley said. “The big thing for quarterbacks is, which guy is going to get his team in the end zone? Obviously, we had our scoring woes last year, especially early on, not really scoring a touchdown until like game three. And so I would say the most important thing for the quarterback that starts for us is going to be the guy that gives us the best chance of moving the ball, taking care of the ball, and getting it into the end zone.”