Although the spring game presented a new era in Oregon football under head coach Mark Helfrich, one thing is still certain – Marcus Mariota can lead the Ducks on offense.
However, the question of who will fill the spot as back up is still very much present. Heading into the spring game, Helfrich mentioned that most likely a clear-cut decision would not be made by the end of spring, but Ducks fans were introduced to both potential back up quarterbacks with redshirt freshmen Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues both playing in solid series.
Both quarterbacks seemed to come out with pregame jitters, but as the game progressed, both Lockie and Rodrigues showed their potential ability, but Helfrich also mentioned that both contenders have things to improve on.
“Jeff and Jake did some good things,” Helfrich said. “A couple day one mistakes by each guy … a couple missed throws here and there, they made a couple plays, dirty routs and stuff we need to clean up, but we took a step forward.”
Rodrigues, who suffered a devastating ankle and leg injury in his senior year of high school, presented as healthy and a possible threat in the run game.
“I think it went well (today), I won’t know until we watch the film,” Rodrigues said. “I just had a lot of fun out there, it’s been a while since I played football.”
Rodrigues said he will keep working through the summer and plans to take it only one day at a time due to his ankle. He plans to throw with the wide receivers every day and work on his footwork.
“I have to retrain my body to play like I used to. Being injured for so long it wasn’t always second nature after,” Rodrigues said. “I am just going to keep working till it’s second nature.”
The 6’3″, 213 pound quarterback went 13-19, throwing for 165 yards, with two touchdowns. His longest touchdown was for 25 yards to junior wide receiver Blake Stanton.
Though it’s evident that Rodrigues has competition for the spot with Lockie. Lockie also came out with apparent nerves, but settled down and threw the ball well.
“I think everyone had a little jitters, and some of the veterans were ready to go on defense,” Lockie said. “I think once we got past that a little bit, we got settled, got the calls going, and we got some tempo going.”
Lockie said he has little things he needs to work on and plans to look at the film to display what he needs to improve.
The Nor-Cal native’s 49-yard touchdown to a wide-open Bralon Addison highlighted his overall performance, as he went 22-28 and threw for 217 yards.
Lockie said when watching film his main focus is to look at his footwork in the pocket, as well as decision-making.
Although both quarterbacks threw no interceptions, there were some close calls and dangerous throws for both players.
The spring game provided the audience with an insight into what each player can do, but as Helfrich anticipated, the decision still isn’t clear on who will be named backup quarterback.