Vernon Adams, Jr.’s transferring to Oregon has generated a tremendous reaction among Oregon fans, but it has to be difficult for the fans of Eastern Washington University. Or does it?
While on a trip through Eastern Washington for other purposes, I decided to see how the residents felt about Vernon Adams, Jr. I made a survey form asking for general information about the responder, then had a choice of 5 options to choose from: “On a scale of 1-5, how do you feel about having Vernon Adams, Jr. transfer from Eastern Washington University to play football at the University of Oregon, this year?
1-I hate it! He shouldn’t have been allowed to play anywhere but EWU.
2-I don’t like it, but I guess the rules allow him to do it.
3-I don’t have an opinion – either for or against.
4- I’ll miss having him at EWU, but understand why he’s transferring.
5-I am excited about this opportunity for Vernon! I think it speaks well about the EWU program! Good luck, Vernon!”
There was also a place for positive comments at the bottom.
I first spoke with people in Ritzville about my survey. One man predicted that I’d find a lot of angry people in Cheney. I was also told that there are a “lot of Oregon Duck fans in Ritzville.” That doesn’t surprise me — we’re everywhere!
Next, I traveled 46 miles east to Cheney, home of the Eastern Washington University Eagles. I had my picture snapped at Roos Field, their red football field, then searched for people to interview. It was a cold, rainy Spring Break day. I located an EWU worker, who answered my survey. He chose #4 and wrote, “Good kid, should be able to do what he wants.” (With him, though, was a man who worked for the athletic department who felt he must decline to participate in the survey.)
Since I couldn’t talk to people on the rainy street, I went to Baldy’s, the student cafeteria where I asked several people to answer my survey. Three of them chose #2, but one of those wrote, “Good luck, Bud” at the bottom.
Two young men chose #5. One wrote, “Great player who has done a lot for Eastern Washington. He should be a great fit for Oregon.” The other one wrote, “University of Oregon is a good school with good education opportunities. This move also could increase his visibility to NFL teams.”
I spoke with those two students about the similarities between Marcus Mariota’s situation and Vernon’s. Both quarterbacks started as redshirt freshmen and gave three solid years of performance to their respective schools. After graduating, they had/will have one year of eligibility left. I’m going to miss Marcus, but I feel it’s time for him to “get on with his life.” They agreed they feel the same way about Vernon.
Right now, Vernon is a “lone duck” working out by himself in Cheney. But June will come and he’ll be able to take his delayed migration south to be part of the team. Eagles don’t fly in formations, like ducks do. I think Vernon’s flying to Eugene will be the beginning of him leading a V- formation for his new flock. He has certainly soared as an eagle, let’s hope he can do the same as a duck. We certainly do love our Ducks!
We’ll just have to wait until September 5th, when the two schools face off for their first game of the season, to see if this is a good move for Vernon. It’s also the first time the teams have played each other. (How ironic is that?) I like all of our U of O quarterbacks, but I’ve got to say — I’m pulling for you, Vernon!
Top photo credit: Kevin Cline