Ashley Young of FishDuck.com interviewed Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota during Tuesday’s press conference at the University of Oregon’s Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.
With Oregon’s prolonged summer weather seemingly coming to an end, and with the possibility of showers during this Saturday’s game against the Washington Huskies, Mariota felt confident he could find success throwing the football while simultaneously adjusting to the rain.
“During my career here [at Oregon] and even back home in Hawaii there’s a lot of passing showers,” Mariota said. “I’ve been in a lot of games where it’s raining, and I’m pretty used to it.”
Although Mariota has experience playing in the rain, he understands that certain adjustments need to be made when dealing with Mother Nature. “My coach back home used to always tell me to loosen up my grip a little bit, and you always want to keep your hands warm so you can feel the ball,” he said.
While the Ducks look to move forward after their win in Pasadena against UCLA last Saturday, it’s hard to overlook the return of left offensive tackle Jake Fisher. The senior reintroduced stability to an offensive line that was struggling; however, the most important element that Fisher’s return provided was protection to his quarterback. Mariota was sacked 12 times during the two games that Fisher was sidelined. UCLA never sacked Mariota, which gave him time to extend plays and enabled their run game to excel.
“To have Jake back is huge for us,” Mariota said. “Especially communication-wise and being able to be on the same page. He’s a huge part of our offense and we’re glad to have him back.”
Oregon football personnel and avid fans alike understand how special this week is. Saturday’s matchup against the Huskies will mark the 20th anniversary of “The Pick” game, when Oregon cornerback Kenny Wheaton intercepted Washington’s Damon Huard for a pick-six, and ultimately propelled the Ducks to the 1994 Rose Bowl. That play will forever rest in Oregon football lore.
“We see [the pick] all the time on the jumbotron,” Mariota said. “That play signified a huge turnaround in this program.”
The Ducks will look to keep momentum going this weekend as they enter the midway point of the season.
Top photo by Craig Strobeck