Can Lockie ‘Win The Day’?

Oregon vs Washington
Could Lockie find himself starting in next seaons PAC 12 Championship?

Craig Strobeck

Could Lockie find himself starting in next season’s Pac-12 Championship run?

While much of the attention paid to this offseason’s QB competition has been focused on Vernon Adams, Jr., the simple fact is that he isn’t in Eugene yet. Because he is a transfer student he will not be allowed to join the team until June when he graduates from EWU.

Many people, myself included, tend to believe that once he shows up it will be a competition between him and Jeff Lockie for the starting job. If this is indeed the case, Lockie, who already had the advantage of having experience with Oregon‘s system, playbook, and coaches, will also have the advantage of a head start over Adams. This begs the question, could Lockie get out to such a lead in the spring that he could essentially win the job before Adams even gets into camp?

It’s not as far-fetched an idea as you may think. For one thing, even though Adams is coming in with a lot of buzz around him, this isn’t the NFL and Oregon didn’t pay anything for him. This means that the only one who loses anything if Adams doesn’t start – is Adams himself.

Lockies experience could give him the needed edge to beat out Adams

Gary Breedlove

Lockie’s experience could give him the needed edge to beat out Adams.

At the same time, you have to think that Lockie has more of a presence in the locker room, since he is the guy who stuck it out as Marcus Mariota‘s backup for the last three seasons. In addition, some players may not appreciate the idea of a guy they’ve never played with jumping Lockie to be the so-called leader of the team. While Lockie has put in the time at Oregon, undoubtedly making friends and allies along the way, Adams is an outsider and an unknown as an FBS-caliber player.

Many people certainly seem to think that the starting QB job is Adams’ job to lose. But if you really look at it, it should be Lockie’s job to lose. He already knows the system by heart and is much more of a known quantity than Adams.

We won’t know which of these players will be the starter until Adams joins the team in June, and perhaps not for a while after that. In the end, even though Lockie may not be the athlete that Adams is, he does have something that may prove to be more important — experience.

Top Photo by Craig Strobeck

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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.

  • floridaduck

    The reality is Lockie has film and stats running the football team. This is hypothetical pondering will he wont he. Just review existing film to assess if the is qualified to be a qb next year.

    • Matthew Montgomery

      I think it is more involved than that. Supposedly, Lockie is a cerebral player. He has taken a relatively limited amount of snaps for Oregon and using Scott Frost’s words, no number of practice reps can be substituted for game reps. So, I can see it taking a game or two for Lockie to find his (physical) groove and allow his cerebral gifts to shine.

      Adams? Starting right away? Who knows if he can learn the system that fast. I am sure he is learning it on paper as we discuss this here, but it is different in real life. This is were Adams may have an advantage … he currently runs a similar offence at EWS, so it may not be that big of a jump for him.

      My greatest fear is that Lockie can’t quite find his groove, the pressure mounts and he gets yanked perhaps before he could have found his groove. Strictly from a team perspective, the competition is good. From the personal level, I think they are both good guys, talented, etc., and I hate to see it end for one of them here. But, that is the nature of the sport.

      • Michael G

        Great points Matthew. Adams has an uphill battle, as he will only have 2 1/2 months to be comfortable enough with the system, to head over to East Lancing, and play MSU (a projected top 5 team), on their home turf.

        I like Lockie at MSU, as he will have the most experience in the system. However, I really think Lockie is a backup QB at this level…at least for an elite team like Oregon. Can anybody tell me that they honestly have seen anything from Lockie that gets them excited? I remember getting excited for Darren Thomas (seeing glimpses of him his True Freshman year), and I got excited about Mariota after seeing him in that Spring game his Freshman year. I got excited after seeing limited time of Masoli on the field…at no time, over the past two years, have I seen anything from Lockie that gets me excited….the fact that the staff went after a QB from Division AA, for their next QB, only confirms this in my mind. If Lockie were anything more than what we have seen…they would have been fine with a JUNIOR QB, and two young and talented Freshman QB’s….

        • Matthew Montgomery

          Michael – all good points. You know, a lot of people see an either Lockie or Adams scenario starting day one, but realistically (and kind of hinted at in your last response), it could be transition around week two or three.

          I think the Ducks have enough weapons to handle MSU (with or without Lockie), a team I would root for against any other opponent. I guess we will see in about a month how Lockie looks in the Spring game.

          I’m torn about it, but it will work itself out. I tell you what would be odd – if Lockie goes out before the season starts due to injury, Adams takes us to the end of the season before injuring himself and then a freshmen takes us up to and through a national championship. :) WTD

          • Michael G

            I like that scenario! Maybe I am being a bit harsh on Lockie. Like I said, I hope that I am wrong, and I have been before, but I just haven’t seen anything from him that gives me reason to think that he is the guy. I have heard that Mahalak has really improved.

            But, you are right. Oregon doesn’t need another Mariota. They have so many weapons offensively, that they really could do with a guy that makes good decisions, and does enough to distribute the football. I suppose Lockie could be that guy, but that threat of running the ball, really fades away with him, so he needs to be able to get the ball out quickly to the playmakers, manage the tempo, and master the read game. If he can do that at a high level (and that takes cerebral player), I think the Ducks are fine with him.

            Either way, I am really looking forward to what this coaching staff can put together, as I consider this season, the first season that Helfrich is showing us who he REALLY is.

            Go Ducks!

          • Matthew Montgomery

            Well said. Thanks for the conversation.

  • Michael G

    I think the fact that Oregon went after a Division AA player to compete for the starting job speaks volumes to the level of confidence they have in Lockie. I understand that we have only seen a very small sample size of Lockie, but….this guy does not appear to be the caliber QB that Oregon needs.

    Maybe I am wrong, and I hope that I am, but if Lockie is the starting QB come Oregon’s opener against Easter Washington, I will be very concerned as a fan. He has an average arm, average athletism, and well…average average average in just about every measurable catagory of a QB

    My hope is that Mahalak or incoming Waller wins the job. If that is the case, that means that they were so impressive, that they beat out two veterans for the spot. I doubt that happens, but I am really hoping that Mahalak turns heads and takes that spot. Adams appears to be a very good QB, and he had a ton of success against the upper tier teams he played (Oregon St. & Washington), but that guys mechanics are terrible. Not only is he MAYBE 5’11, but he throws the ball low, and against tall defensive lineman, that could be a problem.

    I really hope I am wrong, but while I like Lockie as a competitor and leader, I really doubt he has the necessary talent to keep Oregon where they have been; among the nations elite.

    • Rick Cook

      A 1-AA player who, while playing with 1-AA talent, regularly lit up Pac-12 defenses. Imagine what he could do with a top-caliber team around him. I don’t know who will be our starting QB any more than you do, but VA is legit. If Lockie wins the job, that will speak well of his talent.

  • hokieduck

    My two cents: (1st) This team is about competing. Everyday. Everyone knows and buys into that. Their will be no murmuring under the Ducks’ collective breath if Vernon Adams wins the job in fall. From anyone.

    (2d) The fact that Lockie is a “known quantity” means that the coaching staff actually *know* him… and then went out of school to grab a one and done to compete for the job. One might say “No harm, no foul”… but, this quarterback competition is going to be extremely drawn out and interesting. And wide open.