The Next Duck Commander

Jeff Lockie 1, Ark,12,AM

With all the pomp and circumstance that has accompanied the announcement of Vernon Adams Jr. coming to Eugene, let’s not forget one simple fact: he hasn’t won the job yet. It may seem like a foregone conclusion that he will come in and win the job, he will still have to compete with Jeff Lockie and Morgan Mahalak to be the starter.

Mahalak is likely to be the  dark horse canidate going into next season.

Kevin Cline

Mahalak is likely to be the dark horse canidate going into next season.

This will be a bit of an interesting competition, as Lockie isn’t quite the dual-threat QB Mahalak and Adams seem to be, but he might be more developed as a passer. At the same time, Lockie has the most on-field experience with Oregon’s offense and a relationship with the coaches, while Adams (the current favorite), has no experience with the Oregon playbook or history with the coaches. Then there is Mahalak – the dark horse of the group, largely because we just don’t know what to expect from him coming off his redshirt year with the Ducks.

Mahalak, aside from his initials, apparently has the closest playing style to Marcus Mariota; even their physique is similar. The only real downside to Mahalak – and the one thing getting in his way – is his inexperience. Even Adams, despite not playing with Oregon, has four years of college football under his belt. Unless Mahalak has a revelation this offseason, he will have to wait until 2016 for his chance to start.

Lockie will have the advantage going into next season. Will Vernon Adams be able to beat him out?

Craig Strobeck

Lockie will have the advantage going into next season. Will Vernon Adams be able to beat him out?

The competition in all likelihood will come down to Lockie and Adams, two QBs who couldn’t be more different. Lockie is a prototypical QB, standing 6’2 and possessing more pocket mobility than straight line speed. Adams, on the other hand, is basically Russell Wilson, being undersized at 5’10 and having outstanding straight line speed. Again, Lockie has the advantage off the bat because of his experience with the offense and coaches.

The factor that will ultimately decide this QB competition is which of them will be more impressive as a passer, once Adams joins the team and gets into real practices. Regardless of who wins the competition, Oregon will have a good QB next season. The question is, can either of them be great like Mariota?

Top Photo by Amazing Moments

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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.

  • Cody

    Fine article, except it underestimates Adams’s throwing ability. This statement: “This will be a bit of an interesting competition, as Lockie isn’t quite the dual-threat QB Mahalak and Adams seem to be, but he might be more developed as a passer,” is incorrect. Lockie isn’t more developed as a passer.

    As someone who grew up in Cheney and is both a die-hard Ducks and Eagles fan, Adams may very well be a more developed passer than Mariota was. Adams certainly has a better deep ball than Mariota and is able to hit receivers in stride much more consistently. Adams has fewer passing lanes because of his height, but he’s got the best arm out of all four of them (actually, I haven’t seen Mahalak throw, so I’m assuming).

    I’d be shocked if Adams is more successful than Mariota was, but he might be for one reason. He’s a baller. He’s got that killer instinct that Mariota always lacked.

    • Anthony Joseph Gomes

      mariota never screamed and jumped up and down and yelled like a big dumb ape but that doesnt mean he lacked the killer instinct. the way he got things done on the field proves you wrong there.

      • Cody

        I’m not sure if you’re being serious, but Mariota has weaknesses, though I can only think of two off the top of my head. First, his deep ball was often late. Second, he rarely displayed the ability to change the course of a game by “putting his team on his shoulders” (whatever that really means). I saw him take over a game once, during the third quarter of the Michigan State game this last season. Of course he usually didn’t need to, but in all of his losses, emotional grit was distinctly lacking from his game.

        All that said, Mariota is a phenomenal quarterback and if I’m an NFL GM, I’m taking him over Winston. But there’s no use in denying his weaknesses.

        • Jon Sousa

          When MM was hurt and playing Stanford 2 years ago, way down going into the second half, he put the team on his shoulders and with great emotional grit led his team to an amazing comeback. They fell an offside kick short of being able to win that game. In great pain he did amazing things.

          • Cody

            Last minute desperation drives aren’t acceptable as examples of game-changing emotional grit.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    in the sparq camp last year mahalak posted a 58.02 sparq score. he probably would have lost to jameis winston in the 40 yard dash. mahalak looks like he could have a pretty good arm but it might be a stretch calling him a dual threat QB at this point.

  • hokieduck

    Everyone says this and I think it is exactly the opposite take. Mahalak has better experience than Vernon Adams. He has been in the Oregon system for a year, learning, listening, taking reps. He (like the real MM before him) has the experience advantage by far over a kid who arrives on campus a few weeks before fall camp begins. Reading and making instantaneous decisions for the zone read mesh, then learning how to perform the mesh without fumbling takes practice. Lots of it. Yes, VA ran a spread offense and is a dual threart guy, but he did not run the zone read. He is not experienced in Oregon’s bread and butter plays.

    Morgan Mahalak has the edge in my mind. We will see if he has the chutzpah that playing big time college football requires. This is where VA may have the advantage; he has performed under pressure well in the past.

    It is a good problem to have. Go Ducks!

  • Godux

    The Article is mildly interesting, rehashing some of the issues we have heard about and presents a viewpoint worth reading. It’s the comments that pique my interest.
    Is Mahalak really slower than Winston, who is significantly slower than MM? If so, that is important. Speed, though not necessarily super speed, is a big part of what happens in Oregon’s offense.
    As far as Marcus not getting emotional, that’s what I look for in a leader. I want someone who gets the job done, without a lot of emotion. I don’t want to go to war standing next to the guy who is shaking in his boots, or the one who wants to a hero today. I want to have the back of the guy who has my back. Seems like that was what Mariota was and what Adams and Lockie are. Don’t know anything about Morgan yet.
    Probably the best indicator of Mariota’s composure is his td/int ratio. Adams’, and darned near everybody else’s, numbers don’t come close. I have no idea where Morgan will be. I don’t expect to see numbers that compare with what Marcus built over the last three years. I’d settle for fewer fumbles to compensate for a few more interceptions but kind of expect the turnover ration to be a bit less in Oregon’s favor in near future.
    I’m not ready pump any of the competitors yet, but we should be in pretty good shape considering the quality of those who don’t get the starting spot. Considering the ‘system’ and recent QB transition success at QB, I’m pretty happy with what is on campus and appears to be coming.
    My early impression is that I have no idea who is going to end up on top, and that’s good.