Could Adams Be Better Than Mariota?

Vernon Adams Jr.

Heresy! That should be the word going through your mind and escaping your lips when you read the title of this article. To think anyone could be a better Oregon QB than Marcus Mariota is simply ridiculous.

But, in my research of Vernon Adams Jr., Oregon’s latest QB, I think there is the possibility that he could be better than Mariota. Part of this might be overreaction on my part, but when you look at how well Adams played against both FCS and a few FBS opponents, with a much lower level of talent around him than what he will have at Oregon, it makes you step back and think.

Adams could further the evolution of Helfrich's passing game

Kevin Cline

Adams could further the evolution of Helfrich’s passing game.

The one thing that Adams does just as well as, if not better, than Mariota is throw the ball. Now, let me stop and say this isn’t to speak of ill of Mariota, he is a great passer, but Adams is comfortable throwing the ball 40 or 50 times per game if needed. This could give Helfrich an opportunity to throw in some more complex passing plays and route combinations that would give opponents one more thing to scheme for. The biggest thing Adams is going to have to get down in the passing game is just timing with his new receivers in a relatively short period of time. If he can get that timing down then he could end up being Mariota’s equal or superior in passing at Oregon.

Adams is neither as polished a runner nor as dynamic an athlete as Mariota, and on top of this doesn’t have the experience running Oregon’s various option looks. This means that it could take a few games for Adams to get up to speed running the offense properly. This could be particularly interesting to watch since he can’t even show up to spring training because he’s a transfer student.

Despite these disadvantages, Adams is still the favorite to win the job, and with a few early games against teams that include Adams’ former team, Eastern Washington, he should be up to speed by the time Oregon faces its first real opponent.

Adams has the task of filing this living legends shoes

Kevin Cline

Adams has the task of filing this living legends shoes.

Adams will also benefit from the wealth of talent around him at Oregon, with a ridiculous number of quality RBs as well as some great weapons in the passing game. With all of this talent around him, along with his own ability, I see no reason why Adams can’t be a Heisman canidate, and maybe even a winner. I can see Adams even making the jump to the NFL after this season, and being a high draft pick.

All that being said, I doubt he will ever be considered a better Oregon QB than Mariota, even if he wins a Heisman and leads Oregon to a national championship.

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Noah Smith

Noah Smith

Noah is an undergraduate student from just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. Noah is currently pursuing a communications degree with the goal of becoming a sports journalist. Noah is a die hard Duck fan, mainly because of his obsession with football's X's and O's. In his free time he enjoys watching both pro and college football games,playing and listening to music, and drawing up his own playbooks.

  • Taylor Brown

    “I can see Adams even making the jump to the NFL after this season”

    Being that he’s playing a 5th year essentially, he doesn’t have a choice (vs. staying another year…)

  • Dennis Bolt

    Provocative commentary and not off-base, but I’m not sure what you consider “real teams” when you say that he has time to “get up to speed”? Game two is in East Lansing! Perhaps you mean “real’ Pac-12 teams? But even then the Pac opener is versus Utah which is a pretty decent second tier Pac-12 team. Granted the majority of the more challenging Pac-12 games are in November.

  • cfluegge



    He has real good running options behind him but will still have to tote the rock to keep Defenses honest! That being said he may not have Marcus athletism but who does so he can still tote the rock pretty good I mean a lot better than Lockie.

    • Anthony Joseph Gomes

      adams athleticism is a click below MM…but its not way off. adams runs the 40 about a tenth of a second slower and might even have shiftier and quicker feet. i agree with you if you say MM has the athleticism edge over adams but if you say by a lot then im off the bus.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    running: mariota is faster, adams has better footwork. passing: mariota is better throwing the short ball while adams is better throwing the long ball. one problem adams might have is seeing over the bigger faster linemen that will be coming at him. i think mariota is at least a little better at throwing on the run. mariota also has slightly better accuracy..most due to the short ball. i think its all about whether adams can improve his ability to throw the short ball. if he does he will be one of the best U of O QBs ever….if he cant he may not even start.