Oregon officially wrapped up spring drills with their annual spring football game on Saturday in a contest that gave fans an opportunity to watch Mark Helfrich orchestrate the Ducks for the first time.
And boy was it a show. Giving points for both offensive and defensive achievements, the Oregon offense looked in usual form as they overpowered the Oregon defense by a score of 65-10.
This game gave us several opportunities to be in awe over the further development of players like Marcus Mariota, Josh Huff, and Bralon Addison. It also offered us the chance to see plenty of the young guys who will be figures of the Oregon football program for years to come.
Let’s recap exactly what we learned from this contest.
Offense Gets Better and Better
The Oregon offense, especially the first team, was firing on all cylinders on Saturday. Racking up yards and charging down the field as if they had been playing as a cohesive unit throughout the entire offseason, Mariota demonstrated his innate ability to captain the Ducks to multiple touchdowns.
Completing 13-of-15 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns, Mariota found his standout receivers and was just about as crisp as a quarterback could be. One of the top receivers on the day was Bralon Addison. A highlight reel himself, Addison racked up 136 yards on 8 catches.
Also impressing on offense for the Ducks was Byron Marshall, the supposed next great Oregon running back. Carryihng the ball just six times in the game, Marshall rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown to give him some impressive stats on the day.
If this was just a preview of what the Oregon offense will be this season, it looks as though the Ducks will once again have one of the top–if not the top–offense in college football.
Luckily for Oregon’s defense, there are not many offenses like Oregon’s. That being said, they looked like an inexperienced, unmotivated, tired group of guys out there on the Autzen Turf on Saturday. Whether they were playing a little lackluster due to the heat or it being the spring game, you always want to see your players give you 100% on the field.
The Ducks’ defense did not do that on Saturday. Playing as if they were Notre Dame matched up against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Oregon’s defense let the receivers walk all over them while not getting enough pressure on the quarterbacks to really kill any momentum and get points for themselves.
This all could be a consequence of injuries, however, as several Ducks had to sit out the spring game with ailments. But still, at least leave something on the field, defense. Here’s to hoping they shape up before fall camp starts.
Backup QB Competition Will be Thrilling
While last year’s spring game featured a quarterback competition between Mariota and Bryan Bennet for the starting job, this year’s backup competition may be just as thrilling to watch. Contending for this position are Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues, both redshirt freshmen this year.
With Rodrigues coming in as the more heralded of the two (he was a four-star recruit while Lockie was a three-star, not that it really matters), Lockie performed admirably in the spring game, completing 22-of-28 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Rodrigues was good as well, completing 13-of-19 for 165 and two touchdowns.
The two quarterbacks are currently neck-and-neck in the backup QB competition.
Alejandro Maldonado Did Work this Offseason
Now I know it was just one kick out of the many he has attempted in his career, but Alejandro Maldonado nailed a 42-yarder on Saturday that almost went right through the middle of the posts.
While I have been bashing him for his lackluster efforts in the kicking game over the past two years, yesterday’s kick made me think that he may have put in some extra work this offseason to really improve his game.
Here’s top hoping he doesn’t miss another game-tying kick that costs the Ducks a BCS National Championship appearance.