Meet Your New Ducks: Mariota Tears ACL? No Sweat

With the recent departure of Bryan Bennett, Duck fans must be wondering, “Who’s our backup now?”  Well, right now most of the media is pointing fingers towards redshirt freshman Jake Rodrigues and that the backup position is his to lose over fellow redshirt freshman Jeff Lockie (the guy who held up all those bizarre “play call signs” between snaps).

Rodrigues committed to Oregon all the way back in May of 2011 during his junior year in high school.  He comes from Rocklin, CA where he played football for the Whitney HS Wildcats.  He lead his team to a league championship during his senior year and his accolades include All-league offensive player of the year, Whitney football player of the year, and was an Elite 11 QB finalist.

His junior and senior statistics were jaw dropping.  Throughout those two relatively even and successful seasons, Rodrigues accumulated around 4,100 passing yards for 47 TD’s, and just under 2,000 rushing yards for 37 TD’s.  All you can say is… Wow!  He started out as a 3-star recruit, but shortly after his junior season, he became a nationally touted 4-star, picking up offers from Michigan, Miami, Notre Dame, and USC.

Here are some of his senior year highlights:

So what kind of player is he?  And what exactly can he do for Oregon?

In 2011, scouting services were calling Rodrigues the best dual-threat quarterback in the West. There is no clear-cut skill that sticks out above the rest in his game.  He has a VERY strong arm backed up with sub 4.7 speed.  One thing to note about Rodrigues is the athleticism he demonstrates while running the ball.  He won’t just run for an 8-yard gain out of bounds when the defense slacks off, he will look to scramble when given wiggle room and make cuts right up the middle of the field towards the heart of the defense.

Recruiters have questioned his decision making at times amidst his high school career, however, considering his stat line (including only 14 ints throughout high school), I say just let him play.  I’m sure the Oregon coaching staff has helped him develop into a more poised quarterback throughout his resdhirt year, as being the Duck QB in the spread offense is faced with numerous decisions every snap.

As far as a former Duck comparison, I think this kid is very similar to Marcus Mariota.  They are similar in size, speed, and style of play.  That style of play involves a calm, cool, and collected demeanor that can kill defenses with the arm or legs at any given time (just like every other Oregon QB in recent years!).  One exception to this comparison is that Mariota seems to have a softer pass with more touch while Rodrigues likes to fire it in there, perhaps a bit similar to Jeremiah Masoli’s passes.

Jake Rodrigues, unfortunately, came to Eugene to find himself stuck in a logjam at the QB spot.  His talents and ascension up the depth chart have shown he is for real.  Now I am in no way shape or form claiming that Rodrigues is the next Mariota.  However, assuming he does his job and beats out Jeff Lockie for the backup spot, it will be very exciting to see him develop his game during “garbage time” that we Duck fans are so used to seeing.  Should Mariota ever go down or enter the NFL draft early after a Heisman Trophy season (hey, it could happen), rest assured that our quarterback position is deep and talented with Jake Rodrigues at the top of that list.

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Joe Packer

Joe Packer

Joe Packer is a sophomore at the University of Oregon, majoring in Journalism. A Portland, Oregon native, he has been an avid Duck fan his whole life, attending his first of countless Duck football games at the age of 2. He played Lacrosse in high school, and today enjoys shooting hoops and a round of golf just about every day. As a player, referee, and youth sports coach, Joe looks to share his diverse perspective on the world of sports. He welcomes your feedback. Follow him on twitter: @JoePa_

  • DCEmpire

    that headline needs to change, asap. Seriously irresponsible and a cheap way to seek page views.

    • Joe

      sorry you feel that way buddy

      • ChocoThunder

        You should be sorry you wrote that headline. It’s embarrassing and amateurish.

      • Joe

        I think amateurish is a little harsh ad you’re misinformed. You can check out the article on ESPN Pac 12 blog though, they seemed to like it… Thanks for reading

        • DCEmpire

          It’s all good, don’t listen to reader feedback – that’s clearly the sign of a great writer. What I had to say wasn’t unreasonable, and you think being dismissive is the way to go. How is that not amateurish?

  • @joepa_ did you just jinx Mariota with that headline???

  • Carl Blackwell

    Believing in superstitions is not rational. To say that the headline needs to change because you think in superstitious ways and consider that “irresponsible” is not a reason for me to change a headline. I stand by my writer here.

    • Eric H

      Of course you would and not admit it was nothing more than a way to grab some readers’ attention.

  • fishduck

    The headline has already gone out over all the social media…so we cannot change it now. I understand your concerns, but Joe gets great hits on his informative posts anyway….so I really don’t think he did it for the hits, but to demonstrate that we have had QBs go down all the time and he believes Jake can step up.

    Let’s focus on the good, the skills of Jake and not a headline. Once in awhile we all mess-up with those things! Thanks for your comments.

    • Z

      Omitting the fact Jeff Lockie has been higher on the depth chart and traveled with the team every week whil Jake was the QB for the scout team is a blatent miss in forming an article about Oregon’s backup qb. This article forgets about skills and focused on his recruiting status coming to Oregon.

      • fishduck

        We have not forgotten Jeff, as an update will be produced on him in the future. Joe just choose Jake to start with and it’s fun to recount the recruiting stats and process. C’mon guys….we were not trying to fool anyone, put a hex on Marcus or suggest that one player is “best” at reserve QB.

        It’s just a nice review about one of our beloved Ducks!

        While I like how readers hold us to a higher standard….I think it does get a little overblown at times. Nonetheless….thanks for the feedback guys and we will be more careful in the future.

        • Kevin G EzDucksIt

          Charles, this is not the first time and I don’t expect it to be the last time either. The problem as I see it is, as FishDuck gets bigger, the stories are all over the board. In the beginning, very intimate stories about Duck players and Staff but mostly about the offense and defense with great video and commentary. Kurttttt and you did a great job but I don’t see the great Focus and Detail that this site started with anymore. Your providing Fish Friends allowed for access to recruit news and local reporting. Quality before quantity Charles, that is YOUR trademark and why I have come here. We love our Ducks but also FishDuck too!

          • fishduck

            Hello Kevin,

            When we began…we put out ONE article a day, so attention to detail was easy. Then we began to put out TWO articles a day, and that is still easy to watch. Today we have FOUR articles out….so we are offering so much more to the Oregon fan now than before. (although 2-3 a day is the norm)

            We cannot do video anymore as you know, but we have analysis of football every week that has been extremely popular and I’m proud of what we are giving the Oregon fan. We now offer Basketball analysis, Basketball game coverage, and just added Baseball coverage as well.

            Yesterday we brought on board a new Lacrosse writer and photographer for us Duck fans to better learn that sport. My point? When you have a hundred articles go out–you will have a small percentage that mess up a title, or are not quite the quality of the others. When we get something late and it’s 11:15 PM….we cannot rewrite things either as we are all volunteers and have to work the next day.

            So we have MORE analysis than before, MORE sports coverage than before, and MORE articles than before. We will not be flawless with this many writers, editors and material we are providing, thus I would hope that you would cut us some slack when the occasional mess-up occurs.

            It seems that about once every two months or so…something slips by us. That is a half dozen a year out of HUNDREDS of articles provided. Is that as good as a newspaper? No. But it is damned good for guys that bust their butt to provide information and entertainment to Oregon fans for free.

            Thanks for your response.


          • hokieduck

            While I understand what you are saying, Charles, and I greatly appreciate your free and wonderful site, I think what you just wrote underscores the accuracy of Kevin’s point. You are beginning to allow *quantity* to undermine *quality*.

            Speaking only for myself here, I come to Fishduck to learn more about football. Football as played by the Ducks. It is nice that you want to include all the other sports, but honestly, if getting reporters for lacrosse interferes with the quality of the articles about football, that is not a positive for me. Again, just speaking for myself and not meant just to criticize, rather, I think most of these comments on here are given as feedback for you and your writers about how we, your dedicated readers, see your website.

            Having a sophomore J Schooler responding to readers’ comments by basically telling them “Hey, I got picked up by ESPN so forget you.” Well, I don’t think that is the best way to build readership and I think that is what folks are trying to say here.

  • Come on guys, nothing in the headline suggests that Marcus hurt himself. It’s very clear to me that he is trying to introduce readers to Ducks that they probably don’t know much about. This is all much ado about nothing. Good article Joe. I can probably add a little to it as well. I had a conversation with Michael Fletcher(who helps run the Sparq combines) after Jake commited and he just raved about him. He said that Jake might not be the best QB in the country, but he was the best one for Oregon’s offense and Fletch got to see all of the best QB’s in the country. I got to see Jake a few times in practice and the ball explodes off his hand. Going to be a big spring for him

  • labs

    ridiculous and silly headline dude.

  • Adam O

    How can the concern for injury to Rodrigues be omitted? Rodrigues suffered a gruesome leg injury in what would be his final high school game that required months of rehab and missing practice. Something this serious should not be omitted from a profile of the Ducks presumed back-up QB.

    • qdu

      Completely agree. I could care less about the headline, what was missing was the leg injury that he suffered and how that may effect his ability to be the back-up.

      • Joe

        Both of you guys bring up a great point. I didn’t talk about the injury to “trick” readers or make my article seem flawless, I did it because FishDuck presents positive analysis on Oregon football. So rather than analyzing his life story, I presented readers with a thorough analysis of Jake’s skillset. Thanks for reading, check out more of my positive young player analysis’ in the future under “Meet Your New Ducks”

        • Eric H

          But the injury’s effects could factor into how he actually runs the ball on the options and makes his reads. Discussing a possible limitation to a player’s skillset, as a result of an injury, is not being negative; more like being a little realistic to temper people’s expectations.

  • Z

    first, terrible headline.

    Second, he BARELY mentions Jeff Lockie.

    I know Jake had more “stars” coming in from HS, but only one of the two traveled every week with the team last year, Jeff Lockie.

    You can say the injury held Jake R back last year, and it probably did. but while he was dealing with the injury, Jeff Lockie had a full season to develop. He also had a lot more time learning Oregon’s playbook. Jake often ran the scout team who would be using the opposing teams’ basic schemes instead of getting reps with the ducks’ formations.

    Come on fishduck, more research before putting an article out there!

    • Joe

      This is a player profile, not a depth chart analysis. I’ve done player profiles all year and will continue to do so on redshirt freshman like Lockie, Chance Allen, Amoako bros, etc.

  • Kevin W.

    Well, this article did get picked up by ESPN so great job Joe. Sorry all these amateurs are taking things out of context… It’s a player profile, not an analysis of the depth chart… Go Ducks!

    • PeteBayArea

      If it’s a player profile, why no mention of his current health/leg issue? I also think it’s a little fella headline.

    • ATXDuck

      I would say the writer is the amateur, as the article is both poorly written and lacking substance. Do you really think there was any reason ESPN linked to this besides the stupid headline? It certainly wasn’t the writing….

  • DonealDuck

    I agree… terrible terrible headline. You really should be ashamed of yourself gathering page views while giving small heart attacks to the Duck faithful.

  • DonealDuck

    PS… not only that, but the article isn’t even correct, as last season Jeff Lockie was ahead of Rodrigues on the depth chart, albeit at least partially due to injury. I come to Fishduck all the time, and I will QUIT COMING HERE if you continue to run inflammatory, untruthful headlines like this… just to let you know, Charles, if you are reading….

    • Paul Lockie

      Also, Jef

  • swagorwhat

    You people are ridiculous, you have to find something wrong with everything. Quit complaining

    • stalkmuch

      Haha, I agree! There are so many page stalkers on this site that just trash people’s articles and the actual character of the writers. As if any of these people are sports writers or journalists. And everybody here is VOLUNTEERING their time, ridiculous! They’re just mad that they still live in the parents basement.

      • FishFlock

        Haha good point, Sam! Totally agree with you!

      • Joe

        I would like to thank the both of the for your completely rational reaction/response to my article. You understood the purpose and hopefully appreciated it. I stopped checkin the comments after a while and missed your guys’ positive feedback. Thanks again for reading, scoducks.