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  1. #901
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    Quote Originally Posted by mell413 View Post
    So Oregon is apparently trying to go independent? Is this true?
    It's an April Fool's joke. ATQ said Loyd was going pro also, and it was a joke as well.
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  2. #902
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    Competition on: Bennett vs. Mariota

    EUGENE, Ore. -- While Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas' decision to enter the NFL draft a year early shocked many outside the football program, it didn't surprise many of those close to him, including his fellow Ducks quarterbacks. Thomas had brought up the possibility a number of times throughout the year, so backup Bryan Bennett and talented true freshman Marcus Mariota knew he was eyeballing a potential departure.

    Though the news was greeted with more than a few gasps, many Ducks fans didn't spice their surprise with disappointment. Some had felt that Bennett -- despite Thomas' record-setting numbers -- was a better quarterback, or at least that he had more upside. They had seen what he'd done in limited action in 2011, coming off the bench in a big win over Arizona State and a start at Colorado.

    Inside the program, not only was it not a big surprise, it also wasn't viewed as a perfunctory passing of the torch. There was a mystery man, an X factor, with whom fans and media weren't terribly familiar because Oregon has shut down access to practices: true freshman Marcus Mariota.

    Mariota, a 6-foot-4, 200-pounder out of St. Louis High School in Honolulu, had shown enough in one impressive redshirt year to be viewed by his coaches and teammates as a legitimate threat to win the job.

    "When DT left, I told Brian, 'You got to work for it. Marcus Mariota is a very good quarterback,'" said center Hroniss Grasu, Bennett's roommate and good friend. "It's going to be a great competition."

    What you keep hearing when you ask players and coaches about Bennett and Mariota is that they are notably similar. Both are tall and fairly thin -- Bennett is 6-3, 205 pounds. Both are athletic and comfortable running an option attack. Both are capable passers. Both have low-key personalities.

    "We feel real confident as a staff in our quarterback situation," said coach Chip Kelly, whose Ducks begin spring practices Tuesday. "They just haven't played significant amounts. I'm real confident in whoever ends up out of those guys pulling the trigger that we'll have a pretty good one."

    There's good reason for that. Since Kelly arrived as the Ducks' offensive coordinator in 2007, Oregon has been good to outstanding at the position. He transformed Dennis Dixon from a guy who threw more interceptions than touchdowns in 2006 to a leading Heisman Trophy candidate before he got hurt. He made Jeremiah Masoli, an unknown summer junior college transfer, into a swashbuckling, dual-threat force. And under his tutelage, Thomas ended up throwing more TD passes than any previous Ducks QB.

    Kelly insists he has no preconceptions: "Our program is founded on competition," he said. Of course, many coaches throw the "competition" coaching platitude around. What actually happens on the depth chart demonstrates that most still favor seniority, particularly at QB. Coaches believe in the value of experience and they are more comfortable with players with whom they've built up years of familiarity. To win a job, a younger player must decisively demonstrate superiority.

    But Kelly has shown he's not like that, and we need look no further than the last quarterback competition in Eugene between senior Nate Costa and Thomas, then a sophomore.

    Costa was the feel-good story after Masoli's ugly departure. He was the one-time spread-option prodigy who'd been done in by bad knees, but heading into 2010 spring practices he was again healthy and ready to lead the Ducks with his moxie and still substantial skills. Thomas was a skinny guy from Houston with an odd throwing motion who lacked Costa's polish.

    Just about everyone thought Costa would win the job, perhaps even by the end of spring practices. But a funny thing happened: Thomas was announced as the starter in late August.

    Bennett was a true freshman observer of that competition, at least the fall camp portion. And, just as Thomas didn't surprise him when he opted to leave for the NFL, he also didn't surprise Bennett when he won the job.

    "At first, I saw Nate as the older, senior, who kind of took control more," Bennett said. "I think it could have gone either way, but I wasn't too surprised. I thought it kind of started to lean towards Darron at the end."

    Fair to say Bennett knows he can't expect his limited experience -- 369 yards passing, six touchdowns, no interceptions -- to give him a substantial advantage, at least not as baubles that will impress Kelly and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. But that experience could become a foundation or launching point that helps Bennett develop faster, which could provide a competitive advantage. The game should be slower to him than to Mariota. He knows how it feels when the lights are on for real, and how his teammates and coaches react. He knows how to prepare as a starter. And he saw how Thomas won the job over Costa.

    "Since Darron left, I have taken it on myself to present myself as a leader of this team," Bennett said. "I would like to be the starting quarterback of this team. In my mind, I'm going to continue to tell myself that I need to get better and worry about the things I can control. It could come down neck-and-neck. It could be decided in spring ball. I really don't know. It's more a competition with myself, because I can control what I do. I can't control what [Mariota] does."

    When fellow Ducks talk about Mariota, they talk about how quickly he's picked up the offense. Mariota, in a revealing moment of humility that supports that very point, said it took him "a week" -- a whole week! -- to feel comfortable running the offense in fall camp his freshman year.

    "I feel we are going in evenly," Mariota said. "Bryan is a very good player. He's been in this system for a while now. I'm just going to take it day by day. We both are. And whoever wins, we'll be rooting for each other."

    Mariota adds: "If Bryan wins the job, I will be behind him 100 percent. This is a team thing."

    This "team" thing has changed at Oregon. Three years ago, the Ducks starting QB was only of local, perhaps regional interest. After three consecutive conference titles, it's now a position of national import. The last three Ducks QBs have been in Rose Bowl and national title hunts.

    The expectations aren't any lower in 2012, even with Thomas' surprising/not-so-surprising decision.

    "I know whoever the quarterback is, he will do a great job," Grasu said. "Hopefully even better than last season. I know last season was a great season, but I think with the team we've got coming back everywhere else, we can be very successful."
    http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_...ett-vs-mariota

  3. #903
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    By the way, DeForest Buckner won Hawaii State Basketball POY (Yes, I said basketball!). Pretty damn impressive, he's an incredible athlete that could be an amazing pass-rusher.

    Link: ESPN HS
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  4. #904
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradyistheman12 View Post
    It's an April Fool's joke. ATQ said Loyd was going pro also, and it was a joke as well.
    Can't believe I fell for it

    I should have figured the Loyd story was made up, but after the Javes Lewis story it's hard to assume lol

  5. #905
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    Quote Originally Posted by mell413 View Post
    Can't believe I fell for it

    I should have figured the Loyd story was made up, but after the Javes Lewis story it's hard to assume lol
    Hah, very true! Spring practice has started, not much to report since practices are closed. Arik Armstead weighed in at 297 pounds, and here is a list of updated weights courtesy of Rob Moseley:
    Rob Moseley, Register Guard
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  6. #906
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    Curtis White had to retire from football. He's going to continue to attend Oregon under scholarship, and it won't count against the 85 scholarship limit. I was excited when he committed because he was awesome at Sheldon, but it just didn't work out. Best of luck to him..
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  7. #907
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    EUGENE -- Marcus Mariota might be the next Oregon quarterback. The redshirt freshman is excited about succeeding Darron Thomas in the Ducks' prolific offense, but he's also admittedly hesitant.

    He explained Saturday in between bursts of laughter.

    "The hardest thing for me, honestly, is probably the media," Mariota said. "Coming from Hawaii, I didn't have many cameras in my face. But it's something I'm getting used to, I guess, and it's part of the process."

    Or the next Oregon quarterback might be Bryan Bennett, who, as a true freshman, had a front-row seat the last time UO encountered such a quandary -- when Thomas edged Nate Costa for the starting job in 2010.

    The sophomore knows what's expected, and what's at stake, but he'd rather do without all of the accompanying noise this spring.

    "We don't have to make this big of a deal of it," Bennett said. "We're only playing football."

    Then again, the next Oregon quarterback could be true freshman Jake Rodrigues or junior Dustin Haines. There's a chance, of course, but because it's only April, none of it matters at the moment.

    "For us, there's no battle," Ducks coach Chip Kelly said. "We don't have to pick a starting quarterback, and we won't pick a starting quarterback."

    A decision will be made, Kelly said, likely in the days prior to the Sept.1 season opener against Arkansas State.

    Mariota and Bennett, or Bennett and Mariota, are the frontrunners, and based on their comments Saturday, each is rooting for the other. Essentially, both believe whoever emerges is the best candidate to lead the offense, and that's most important.

    "I just stay focused on what I'm doing and what we're doing as a team rather than this competition," Bennett said. "We're worried about making the team better, getting better."

    He has the experience, appearing in eight games in 2011. Bennett ran 23 times for 200 yards and completed 25 of 46 passes for 369 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions.

    Asked Saturday where he needed to show improvement, he said, "Learn the playbook inside and out more, continue to work on accuracy and decision-making."

    But Mariota has caught Kelly's eye. The coach said the redshirt freshman doesn't make the same mistake twice, and the self-assured Mariota didn't dispute Kelly's assessment.

    "To me, confidence -- it's something you have to have," he said. "It's part of the position."

    Kelly said no one, quarterbacks included, has separated himself during the spring. At quarterback, he's happy to have options, and his top two are doing everything they can -- at the moment.

    "Those guys are competing everyday, both improving," Kelly said. "They're better today after practice than they were after practice No.1. They have a real good command of what we're trying to do. We're throwing a lot of things at them in the first four days, from an insertion standpoint, and they've both done a good job."

    So, does either have an advantage?

    "That stuff will work itself out," Kelly said.

    The quarterbacks agreed, but couldn't help look ahead -- if only because they were asked often enough Saturday.

    If it's Bennett?

    "I hope it's a hard decision for the coaches," Bennett said. "I want Marcus to push me, and I'm going to push him. It would mean we're both playing well."

    And if it's Mariota?

    More laughter.

    "I'd have to start taking public speaking classes or something," Mariota said.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/inde...rcus_mari.html

  8. #908
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    I saw Andre Y at Lillis today with boot on and a crutch by the way.
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  9. #909
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    Bryan Bennett tours Oregon's locker room at the Cas Center

    Here is player-interviews from this Spring courtesy of Rob Moseley:
    Bryan Bennett
    Rahsaan Vaughn
    Daryle Hawkins
    Christian French
    Devon Blackmon
    Keanon Lowe
    Christian French
    Michael Clay
    De'Anthony Thomas
    Marcus Mariota
    Ifo Ekpre-Olumu
    Keloni Kamalani
    Nick Cody
    Ryan Clanton
    John Boyett

    Some things I have heard:
    The quarterback battle is truly neck-and-neck, neither player has separated from the other one. Evan Baylis is pushing Colt Lyerla and will most likely not redshirt this season. I still think Lyerla wins the starting gig, but Baylis has been awesome and just "gets it." Arik Armstead has also been terrific, and hasn't shown signs of being lost at all. I was expecting him to be lost in the technique aspect of playing defensive end, but he's been pretty awesome thus far. The RS Freshmen receiving class has not been consistent enough so far, and they still need to get stronger to improve in blocking. Kiko Alonso has been amazing on and off the field, and looks like a potential Pac-12 DPOY candidate. If he stays out of trouble and is healthy, then he could be a star.
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  10. #910
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    Who's got the weed?
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuckus View Post
    You can't spell Worley without W.

  11. #911
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  12. #912
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    Eh, I was surprised that this wasn't common knowledge. I've hung out with many football players that smoked with my friends, and it never seemed like a big deal to me...
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  13. #913
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    Don't have a problem with it, personally. Even though its a big story, people should relax & remember their just 18-22Y.O. kids at the end of the day. Who wasn't doing stupid **** at that age?

    Definitely not just Oregon. Hell, i've burned with quite a few Beav players, who play with my brother.

    My best friend used to attend ASU, during her master's program she tutored a bunch of the student athletes. She said around half or a third of the football players, would come into study hall & reek of weed.
    Last edited by Infamous916; 04-20-2012 at 12:03 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuckus View Post
    You can't spell Worley without W.

  14. #914
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    I think the funniest thing about this is that some Duck fans are completely floored. They deify the players on the team and act as if they all have halos on their heads. They fail to realize that they are college students, and like many college students they partake in the herb. People would be surprised to hear about some of the players that do smoke, and it is very common on the football team.

    By the way, it would have been hilarious if this story had came out on 4/20
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  15. #915
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    Damn near everybody has tried it, at least once.

    That would've been so awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuckus View Post
    You can't spell Worley without W.

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