Should Ty Griffin Be the Oregon Quarterback?

Experience like that of playing in the Pac-12 Championship Game will help Tyree Robinson solidify a young Ducks secondary in 2015.

There’s a big banner at the Ducks’ practice field, that I’m going to have to paraphrase …

“To be ordinary, keep doing things the way they’ve always been done. To be great, requires the courage to go against tradition.”

This move would require a lot of courage, and I’m well aware it’ll never happen. But since when should reality limit our dreams?

My starting premise is that the Ducks must have a very good runner at QB for their offense to be successful. The examples should be well-known by all. How good was the Ducks’ offense — and the great Marcus — when he couldn’t run?

Adams has been underwhelming thus far, likely due to injury.

Tom Corno

Adams has been underwhelming thus far, likely due to injury.

With all my film watching of Vernon Adams, until the EWU game, I didn’t realize how slow a runner he is. Now if he was a great/very good passer, that lack of running ability might be hidden. But that’s not gonna happen this season with a broken finger. When VA starts to run, I start to cringe.

Jeff Lockie? Aren’t we getting just what we thought we’d get from Jeff? A “solid [ordinary] back-up,” who’s incapable of being real good versus a real good defense.

Taylor Alie? Always has seemed to be a better athlete than Lockie, but he’s  still a walk-on for a reason.

We now can’t burn Travis Jonsen’s redshirt year.

So what’s left? Just [according to many] the best athlete on the team — Ty Griffin.  Again, I could quote many, but I’ll settle for John Neal.

“When I was standing in the defensive backfield, and Ty Griffin was carrying the ball, it was TERRIFYING. He’s the fastest QB I’ve ever seen, including Marcus Mariota and Michael Vick, who I coached against.” 

Griffin also has been mentioned several times as having the strongest arm of any of the QBs. So what’s wrong with him? Obviously it’s his decision making and/or accuracy. But can’t those things be improved? Isn’t that what coaches are supposed to do?

What an incredible up-side; he’s only a soph. Ty’s a very intellectual, bright kid. He moved himself to defense, just to get a chance to play.

Ty Griffin remains, in my opinion, the best athlete on the roster.

From Video

Ty Griffin remains, in my opinion, the best athlete on the roster.

As it stands now, “the best athlete on the team” is wasting his time on game days. Dang, we’ve got Colorado and WSU coming up. Chances for this offense to really improve.   

So what’ll it be:

(1) a broken-fingered, small but slow VA.

(2) a mediocre, as good as he’s gonna get, Jeff Lockie.

(3) a 5’10 walk-on, Taylor Alie.

(4) Bralon Addison, no meaningful recent QB experience, and might not be as good a runner as Ty Griffin.

Or Helfrich and Frost can say, “F*** IT!”  And courageously attempt to produce a great Duck QB?

Top photo from Kevin Cline

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  • Dylan

    I’ve been toying around with this idea myself – in my head – since last Saturday. Yes, there’s a reason he didn’t get anywhere near the starting job. Yes, he’s a little raw. But this program shouldn’t have a prototype — that’s how you get stuck in a rut when you don’t find that prototypical player. More than anything, Chip’s calling card at Oregon was his ability to mold his offense around the abilities of his best players at each position. And maybe, just maybe, part of the reason Griffin didn’t get near the starting job is because the coaches were playing it too safe and thinking too small.
    Imagine the following as a defender: 1) You have to choose between stopping Freeman on the dive and Ty on the edge; 2) If you chose to rein in Freeman and Griffin keeps, congratulations — now there’s a guy relatively alone on the other side, trying to decide whether to gamble on either Ty keeping or Taj receiving the pitch. If, as a Ducks fan, that doesn’t rekindle the excitement of 2009-12, there’s something wrong with you. If all goes as it rightly should against Colorado, there’s no reason they can’t at least use this package as a change of pace throughout the game. Especially because the offensive line hasn’t been giving great protection (maybe that’s the crappy playcalling, but there’s really not much of a difference for me watching, frustrated, on my couch). This could be the spark — the ingenuity and innovation they need to recover.

    • duckusucker

      Consider: our line isn’t built for power, it’s a finesse one that involves agility and mobility on the part of linemen. If we remove the threat of downfield passing (which is what we’ve suffered through these past weeks w/Vernon and his infamous finger), LBs can scoot up, defensive secondary players also cheat up. NO way can any team run successfully w/out a serious QB passing threat— and certainly not one behind a line expressly NOT designed for it.
      We ain’t smash mouth.

      • Anthony Joseph Gomes

        royce freeman 6.4 YPC. taj griffin 9.4 YPC tony brooks james 6.2 YPC kani benoit 5.5 YPC.

        not bad run game for an offensive line that are nothing but a bunch of pansies. youve been listening to ESPN too much

        • duckusucker

          I’m choking on all the words you put in my mouth.
          Never said they’re “pansies.” They’re tough as hell, actually. But their scheme is NOT to overpower but rather to finesse: it’s a technique, an influence. They’re trained to be mobile, not earth-moving machines, i.e. Ohio State linemen.
          Never said they weren’t successful at the scheme. HUGELY successful at their schemes.

  • fairweatherfowl

    We all saw Ty Griffin pass in the spring game. Didn’t he throw the interception that Nelson picked off?

    Not that this would ever happen, but he might be great running the triple option since he was a quarterback at Georgia Tech. Of course, even with the tremendous speed and quickness of our offensive line that would required the offense to change drastically in just one week. But can you imagine Royce and Taj in the backfield with Ty?

    Talk about catching a team’s defense flat-footed. That might be a better tactic to spring on a team other than Colorado.

  • Dfb

    First, the Ducks need him at CB, without Seisay they are thinner than ever. Second, improving accuracy and decision making in a QB takes lots of reps and many QB’s still struggle with it. A perfect example is the new Florida State QB Everett Golson. He’s had two different coaching staffs and he still isn’t any better than as a freshman.
    I think I would rather try Bralon Addison there since he’s played a lot and has a decent arm by all accounts. But we haven’t seen Morgan Mahalak yet….

    Lastly, Darron Thomas wasn’t a great runner and the Ducks did fine, even going to a national championship with him.

    • Ed

      Daron was a GREAT passer though. Mahalak is a bust so far. Couple coaches are friends and he has not panned out. Super lazy his first year and better this year but still catching up.

  • Nate

    What about Mahalak?

    • GoDucks

      If he’s still playing behind a walk-one, probably not much there.

      • Ed

        I have talked to several coaches who say privately he is a bust so far. He was lazy and didn’t take it serious his freshman year. Supposedly better this year but still catching up.

        • GoDucks

          Thanks for the insight. We certainly can’t have a slacker qb. Maybe he’ll wake up, grow up, and see the opportunity… Knocking on wood.

    • Anthony Joseph Gomes

      good question. mahalak did some good things in the spring game i would have thought he deserved at least a peek by now given the way things have been going.

  • Dan

    Awesome idea I wish the coaches would come up with it. I was thinking about this happening the other day. I know I would l like to see it happen.

  • cfluegge

    I had this thought after Lockie’s third series against Utah. Right now, a superior athlete is about as good a shot as the Ducks have at that position. Especially since this guy was practicing as a quarterback as recently as a month ago. He has to at least know some of the playbook, right?

  • Dylan

    I mean, should he just *be* the quarterback now? Probably not. But they should definitely throw him back there at times to run some pure option packages (again, just think of the possibilities with a Freeman-Griffin-Griffin backfield). If Chip could make Masoli a threat and Malzahn could do the same with Marshall, Griffin can at least be useful in this offense.

  • GoDucks

    Coach, I agree that this should be tried. We’ve gotten a glimpse of Ty’s blazing speek in the Utah game. His brother, ignored in all of the Duck Down talk, is already showing glimpses of Reggie Bush-like potential (and a much better lateral game than Deathony. Some very special DNA there in both…

    To your main point, obviously there are some glaring flaws there. Otherwise how else can you keep a guy out whom Neal says is faster than Vick and everybody?

    That doesn’t mean he can’t be inserted in some situations, and given a serious shot at becoming our guy next year, our one of two guys in a a two-man a year from now.

    But here’s the real thing that’s holding Ty back – or so I speculate. Look at how many times Helfrich had Freeman run between the tackles against Sparty and then Utah. No lateral passes, lateral movement, or far too few of both.

    Guess what? We don’t have MM! Thomas and Dixon are long gone. Our current offensive model does need to be tweaked. The times call for changes. To think that we’re going to be able to fix this with Adams and Lockie this year, and Lockie next year, is living in the past.

    • Anthony Joseph Gomes

      unfortunately ty griffin is the least accurate passer on the oregon roster. all the intangibles in the world will not make a quarterback good if he cannot throw the football.

  • duckusucker

    This continuing disparaging of Jeff Lockie is unfair, unfounded, and just wrong-headed. The guy has had one start and blew up the opposition.
    The coaches then benched him for the next game, replacing him with a guy w/a broken finger. Hardly the stuff to create confidence. Yeah, he threw two picks, but I recall a certain St. Marcus who had fumbles in games and lots of errant throws.
    Lockie has plenty of skills and reps: he just needs the coaches to show some confidence and allow him to get comfortable as a starter.
    I predict Jeff will be just fine.
    Starting Ty Griffin, who has ZERO experience is silly. Period.
    Remember the spring game?
    Ugh.
    And if he had any QB skills, at this level, he wouldn’t have been listed BY THE COACHES as below Alie.
    If we mount an attack w/a one-dimensional QB, we’ll be toasted. For our zone-read, run-first offense to work, a real threat has to exist THROUGH THE AIR. Or else, it’s Duck soup to blow up the running plays.

    GIVE LOCKIE SOME PROPS.

    • Raymond Jenkins

      Lockie is an interception machine and not very good when hes not throwing INTs. His only good showings have been against scrubs. The spring game is a practice scrimmage. Maybe if we could put a red jersey on him and have the team give him all day to throw he would be the answer. That aint gonna happen.

      • duckusucker

        Lots of starting and successful QBs stunk it up on their first outings.
        Not ready to give up on Jeff, just yet.
        He’s more of a drop back guy, and that’s not bad if he can straighten out the picks thing. Certainly, with Freeman and Griffin, we don’t need a 50yd/game QB runner.
        That said, coach needs to dial in more short passes: we have a couple of guys with great hands and blazing speed for the TAZR position, i.e. Nelson, Addison. Those plays can spread the field, make pass rushers maintain their positions and stop the bull rushing upfield that has collapsed our pocket for several games now.
        I think it’s been poor calling, by Frost. He’s probably slowly adjusting to the fact that he doesn’t have a QB w/superior running talent anymore at QB. I hope he hurries up w/his adjustment.

      • Anthony Joseph Gomes

        in fairness to lockie the condition of the field was deplorable after the rainstorm hit colorado before the game. mariota had the talent of getting great velocity on balls he threw while in the air but lets be real: lockie is no mariota and on that slick field im not sure if mariota would have been mariota. my coaching advice to oregon is to tell lockie he needs to keep both feet planted when throwing the ball and step into it. lockie needs to stick to basic fundamental quarterback 101 and let the run game back him up. he has yet to prove he can throw effectively to the center of the field with accuracy and good judgment.

      • Andy Irving

        Here’s a wild one…. what about Charles nelson? There seems to be nothing this guy can’t do… and can’t do good. I realize he’s too small but crap… he’s got heart and he’s got football iq for days, and balls of steel haha just a dream but that would be amazing to see

  • jerry

    After the Michigan State game, I entertained the idea of putting Addison at QB.

    The following week–surprise–we did; though in a very limited capacity.

    For the Ducks to be successful they need a running game. When they don’t move the ball on the ground–whether by RB and/or QB position–they lose. That’s a fact.

    What I know from 4 games is Adams isn’t the answer even if he’s healthy. He’s too indecisive, and not very fast.

    Griffin or Addison would be great option QB with potential to stretch defenses.

    Coach Frost stated Addison was one of the best QB’s in Texas in high school.

    Addison has more big game experience, but not at QB.

    I’m open to whatever works, and gets the offense untracked.

    Go Ducks