One thing that’s for sure is Coach Mark Helfrich’s Oregon Ducks still run the same offense they ran under Chip Kelly.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota looked even better, having more of a command of the offense and being the leader that the Ducks desperately need on offense. He finished the game with 169 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Who impressed me most was sophomore running back Byron Marshall. He looked like a powerful runner out there, with the confidence and skill to be the starting running back this fall.
He finished the game with 60 yards on six carries and one touchdown.
The most intriguing battle going into the game was the backup QB position between Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie.
Rodrigues showed more flashes of being the quarterback Oregon is looking for to back up Mariota. He had the ability to run and throw, but most importantly was his skill to create/prolong plays even when they seemed to break down. He finished the game with 165 yards through the air, 32 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
His competitor Lockie struggled out of the gate but finished the game strongly. At first he tried to do too much with his legs — an area that isn’t his strength — but as the game came to an end he used enough of his legs to make plays and lead the offense to a couple touchdown drives; the most noticeable drive was with less than two minutes left in the first half and he marched the offense 65 yards in one minute and 14 seconds for a touchdown. He finished the game with 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Going into the summer, this competition is very close; but I still have high hopes for Rodrigues as the backup quarterback going into the start of the regular season.
On a final note, it was nice to see senior place kicker Alejandro Maldanado drill a 48-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Although field goals aren’t a staple in how the Ducks score, it is nice to know that Maldanado has been practicing and looks ready for whenever he is asked to kick a field goal.
The player of the game has to be sophomore wide receiver Bralon Addison as he finished the game with 136 yards on 8 catches and one touchdown. The camaraderie between Addison and Mariota is something to get excited for this upcoming season.
Overall, this was a great game for the University of Oregon Ducks and especially for new head coach Mark Helfrich, who quieted critics with an impressive 2013 Spring Game.
Helfrich’s first Spring Game brings him an A+ grade; it was a great start to a new era in Eugene, Ore.