Oregon quarterback job still up for grabs at start of camp

By Isaac Rosenthal

Oregon Daily Emerald, U. Oregon via UWIRE

Oregon quarterback job still up for grabs at start of camp

With 22 practices separating the Oregon Ducks from their season opener against Arkansas State, the quarterback competition between Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota is kicking into full swing. Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said at the team’s media day on Monday that he wouldn’t be opposed to using multiple quarterbacks next year, though a two-quarterback system doesn’t seem particularly likely.

Kelly said that, in his experience, there’s usually a clear choice for the starting job by the end of fall camp. With position battles going on in addition to the much-publicized battle for quarterback, Kelly stressed that it’s not all about the exact ordering of the depth chart come Sept. 1.

“You know, it’s not about being the No. 1 guy. It’s about being in the rotation because we believe if you are in the rotation, you’re going to play,” he said.

For the notoriously laid-back Mariota, fall camp will be an opportunity to show what he can do in pressure situations.

“You’re going to go through different scenarios,” he said. “You’re going to go through different situations where you’re going to be put under adversity, where it will be 3rd and 20 — different things and as a team you’re going to have to cooperate to get that first down.”

Bennett spoke about the leadership aspect of the quarterback position, something which he learned a great deal about from Peyton and Eli Manning when he, along with a litany of other NCAA quarterbacks, participated in the Manning Passing Academy this summer.

“That comes with the way you carry yourself as a quarterback,” Bennett said. “It’s not just a position, it’s kind of a lifestyle that you have to live and a demeanor that you have to carry, and that means doing whatever you have to do that’s best for the team.”

While the quarterback may be the most vocal leader on the field, Kelly said it’s important to have leadership across the board, including the 16 Duck seniors who will look to finish their careers with four conference titles.

“There’s an ownership that all the seniors have whenever you’re a senior,” said offensive lineman Carson York. “For three years, different classes have had ownership over those teams, and I think there’s a sense now that we have ownership over this team and it’s our responsibility to guide this team to the same place we’ve gone before or better, and I really don’t want to be the senior class that screws that up.”

Among the sure things about the 2012 Ducks will be an increased role for both De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner as the team attemps to fill the void left by LaMichael James. Barner said he’s ready to take on the bulk of the running back responsibilities, but what he (and much of the college football world) is excited about is Thomas’ new duties.

“De’Anthony — I’ve said it before — is yet to reach his full potential,” Barner said. “And that’s the scary thing about the kid. The sky’s the limit.”

Kelly also spoke of what the so-called “Black Mamba” — he of two carries for 155 yards and two scores in the Rose Bowl — may be capable of.

“I’ve seen him do things in practice that you just gotta shake your head at,” Kelly said.

Thomas was used both as a receiver and tailback a year ago, and Kelly says his exact role this year will largely be dictated by who emerges as threats from the Duck’s tight end and wide receiver positions as Oregon’s offense looks to make up for the yards that seniors David Paulson and Lavasier Tuinei accounted for a season ago.

Among those options at tight end is Colt Lyerla, who was absent from the first day of fall camp. Kelly did not indicate why Lyerla missed practice, saying only that he will return to action “shortly.”

Read more here: http://dailyemerald.com/2012/08/06/quarterback-job-still-up-for-grabs-at-start-of-camp/
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