Benching Brown: What are YOUR Odds?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 42 Comments

FishDuck writer and frequent commenter Jon Joseph pondered aloud recently if Oregon just shouldn’t go with Ty Thompson, mortgaging the present in hopes of a payoff over the next two years.

Whew! That is intriguing, as there are those at this site who see Oregon as a potential playoff candidate this year. Our best chance in Columbus, these folks say, is with a sixth-year senior at quarterback, not a newbie.  Do you sacrifice this year for the future as this young team grows up? This is a big decision for the coaches that could look sage later or blow up in all our faces.

Should Anthony Brown be benched? What are your odds that this will happen?

Perhaps there is something I am not seeing, and you can share your thoughts in the comments, but here are the pertinent components according to Mr. FishDuck. First, I believe we will see a much improved Anthony Brown this fall, as he has not had a complete camp at Oregon until this spring. He has now fully learned the Joe Moorhead offense, knows his RPO reads better, and has the experience to know which passes for which plays need to be implemented.

Pac-12 Video

What a sweet lofting pass to Tony Franklin from Anthony Brown.

At the Spring Game we saw a Brown bullet-pass that travelled deep and horizontally across the field; it got Pac-12 Network Analyst and former Oregon DC Nick Aliotti raving. Yet there was also a beautiful deep touch pass later in the game for nearly a TD to freshman WR Troy Franklin.

I believe Brown can deliver.

Yet I acknowledge other scenarios that could occur to move the odds against Brown, such as Thompson or Jay Butterfield playing so well in practice (the Marcus Mariota effect) that the rookie cannot be kept off the field.

Another would be a demonstrated decline on the field by Brown (pulling a Shough) that would justify bringing in an inexperienced quarterback? It would take such an amazing practice performance by a young-gun QB or such a steep decline from Anthony Brown that I rate those scenarios as low-odds. How about you?

If the coaches bench the savvy senior QB, we will say it was a big gamble. For those who want to do a bit of gaming action on this (as millions already do on sports) the choices online are endless, and Gamblizard can help with your selection as it provides unbiased reviews for the most popular sites in the gambling industry. Check the odds, as these sites make it possible to bet on athletes such as Anthony Brown and other football topics.

UO Athletics

Anthony Brown is an excellent runner in the Moorhead offense.

The Offense May Dictate a Change?

The offense may make the decision for the coaches, and not because of the talent but because of the play-calling. If Oregon becomes a quarterback run-heavy offense in 2021, the probability of injury is almost guaranteed, thus a new starter will be playing sometime this next season. This component muddies my thoughts the most, because to me it has the highest likelihood of occurring out of all the scenarios that I’ve described.

I believe that the odds Brown gets benched based on talent and performance are zero, but all those other components above can change the odds drastically. While I may think the odds are zero for a change–what are your odds?

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer    (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Screenshot from Pac-12 Video

Phil Anderson, the Volunteer editor for this article, is a trial lawyer in Bend Oregon.


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Very cool.

Very cool, but I still get PTSD when I see Oregon Ducks in anything blue.

Dale Newton

I think Brown is going to be a solid starter for the Ducks. He’s a 6th-year senior, a grown man with a degree in Economics from Boston College.

What’s underappreciated about him as a quarterback is how he has progressed in six college seasons. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago at Duck Sports Authority (subscription site, free article). His stats have a definite trend line, very positive. Please check it out:


Good article. I agree that AB is the starter and that’s because of experience and leadership. He won’t lose his job unless he gets hurt or one of the younger bucks just goes crazy during fall camp. Comparing AB to the crop of QBs in the conference, I think he’s somewhere in the middle. Guys like Klovis, Daniels, DTR, and Brewer are ahead of him.

Santa Rosa Duck

I don’t see a lot of love for Robbie Ashford here but I personally would not be surprised to see him listed as #2 by kickoff time for Fresno State. He can throw and run and looks to be an absolute bruiser.


What a great position to be in, which of the 4 great talents at qb do you start!

If it was up to me, I would agree with Jon and start a young gun. We will be better experienced next year.
But this is college football and winning now is what it’s all about.

I think the odds are clearly in AB’s favor to start the season. It is his job to lose.
And I don’t see a young talent getting enough reps in practice to displace him.

One thing for sure, any success the Ducks have this year will be because one of the QBs steps up and plays better than they ever have before.
There certainly is enough talent.

Duck Phan Phil

I’d argue TT’s highest upside is with a year understudying an experienced starting QB. Developing knowledge of the offense is important, but developing confidence and leadership skill is also very important.

TT should understand this, as should the Butter Man. I don’t see TT bailing this year, and I don’t see either TT or J Butter leaving until and unless they lose the starting job to the other.

I don’t bench AB unless either TT or J Butter demonstrates confidence, leadership and grasp of the offense beyond their years combined with a clear talent advantage.


“The offense may make the decision for the coaches”…..this is what I believe will happen. If they go heavy QB run and succeed then it seems as though Ashford may have the upper hand at being QB2….however, and I may be wrong, it seems to me that not only will JB and TT transfer – they’re more pro style QB’s with legit NFL ambitions – but I find it hard to believe that big time receivers won’t also go as the passing game takes a backseat to the running game.

I admit I’m biased….I wasn’t impressed at all with Shough (or AB) and the Duck offense last year and after watching Herbert’s NFL rookie year it’s almost criminal what the Duck coaching staff did with him…..Alabama and Clemson and even USC have all gone pro-style and I suspect for good reason: it’s what the kids want….it’s the road to the NFL….look at all the throwing at the 7 on 7 camps… let TT get away and any top flight receivers will be foolish in my opinion……as for next year (2022), the Ducks top to bottom will be better and in position to go to the Big Dance….except that they’ll have an inexperienced QB which will be a drawback…..bottom line: if AB is good and wins 11 games then the coaches got it right….9 wins and a lower level bowl game with multiple transfers is a real set-back in my humble opinion.


An RPO offense isn’t necessarily “run heavy”. The QB is reading key defensive personnel and adjusting to what he sees on the field.

The defense may provide opportunities for the QB to run and get some easy yards, but for the offense to be successful, the QB needs to have an accurate passing game as well.


For those worried about AB’s qualifications, I have two words for you…Cardale Jones. Here is a 3*, third string tOSU qb with little experience, forced into an NCAA playoff game and promptly kills the Ducks and succeeds into a starting qb the next season.

Now, I’m not saying AB will fill that lovely role. But it can be done…especially with his experience, size, and athleticism. Plus, the supporting cast must play to championship level. (I’m still thinking about that guy…THAT GUY…Joey Bosa…the same guy who wrecked the Ducks offense during that playoff game.)

AB, first string. Ash second. Butter third and transfers. Ty third/fourth.

Jon Joseph

Cardale was indeed surrounded by some darn good football players. Having Zeke Elliott at RB helped the cause.


I think you have to start Brown. He’s a proven commodity and even though he’s only played a short time at Oregon he has several years of playing at the college level that none of the other QB’s have.

It’s easy to speculate about unproven QB’s but you gotta go with what know.

When you’ve had QB’s like Mariota and recently Herbert it’s hard to feel comfortable with any new QB. We simply don’t know what Brown’s capable of because he’s not started and finished multiple games.


It is difficult to replace a starting QB that is winning games. With our schedule it looks to me like any of our QB’s would have at least 3 wins in the first four games. If the starting QB beats tOSU, and wins the first 4 games, it would be tough to bench a QB that beats a perennial title contender on their home field.

An injury is the most likely scenario that we would see a QB change. After the first 5 games we will know if a QB change is warranted based upon performance.

The intriguing aspect of our QB room is the potential that most of us believe that we have sitting on the bench, no matter who is named the starter.


Pending an injury or meltdown, I see Brown finishing the season and leading the Ducks remarkably. Many hope for his demise so they can see the hatchlings emerge from their shells. On the other hand to the contrary, I want Brown to start, lead, excel and finish strong. The others will have their days ahead of them. Go Ducks!!

Jon Joseph

Thanks Charles for the interesting ponder puzzle.

First, happy Father’s Day to you and all of the other Duck Dads.

Of course, the best player at every position needs to start. Otherwise, the idea of it being all about COMPETITION rings hollow.

Brown is clearly a very good, very experienced QB. However, and this may be due to the supporting cast at BC, he has never started and won a game against a top 25 opponent.

Did he have a good spring game? Yes. But so did Butterfield and Ashford.

With a 4 team playoff field, what is the realistic goal for Oregon in 2021? Looking at the schedule with away games at Ohio State, UW, UCLA + Utah, I believe the realistic goal is a third conference title in a row and a return to the Rose Bowl. This would be a great accomplishment; especially, if the Ducks get to and win the Granddaddy. [I hope I am wrong + the Ducks win the Natty!]

We now live in a CFB world where every player is allowed 1 ‘free’ transfer. And if he so desires a player can leave Oregon and suit up for another Pac-12 team. Brown gets the start and 2 out of the Ducks 3 back up QBs could be gone?

I do believe Thompson will stay. With 2020 not counting against eligibility, Thompson in 2021 is a true frosh. But Butterfield and Ashford?

One thing I know for certain, asking a young QB to make his first start in 2022 on the road ‘at’ Georgia would be a mighty tall task.

If anyone needs me I’ll be vegging on the couch watching the final round of the US Open. And wondering if I will be able to qualify in 2022? Right?

Has to happen to get some QB seasoning before 2022. But will Oregon blow out-manned opponents or win by 7 to 10 points?

I love Notalot’s enthusiasm. But I am far less sanguine about Brown’s abilities, including his ability to routinely lead Oregon to 2 TD+ wins.


I am thinking AB starts and has success, but succumbs to injury due to a heavy dose of called QB runs.

I think we get to see QB2 play and get dinged just bad enough that QB3 gots some quality time this year as well.

Depth in the QB room is going to pay off for the Ducks this year as we find we have capable backups ready to be the next man up. With the talent in that room, I don’t see a lot of drop-off from one to the next.

Go Ducks!

Jon Joseph

As I understand it July 1 is the cut off date to inform your team that you are going to make a ‘free transfer move.’ Of course, the portal can be entered at anytime.

It will be interesting to see if the current deep QB room stays intact; especially, after the starter and his back-up are named.

I am going to check on the rule to make certain. But to help with roster management. I do believe beginning in 2022 you will have to let your team know prior to July 1st that you plan on taking a ‘free transfer.’


I look at the qb battle like looking at a bar graph. The bar graph, right now, shows Brown on the left pegged at the top of his potential. His bar graph has an asterisk, and note at the bottom about the risk for injury, history of injury.

To the right is the bar graph’s we can’t quite make out. We see the names Butterfield, TT, and Ashford. The graph area for each of them is considerably higher. This indicates each of these guys might just rise up to levels Brown can’t attain. What we the fans, and general public see is just an open channel, no color indicating a level. There is an order, right now, Butter, Ty then Ash, but it is evident this is temporary.

We all want to see different levels of attainment for each of these qb prospects reflected in the bar graphs. The problem is we really don’t know because Ashford just got serious about football and Ty just started. Butterfield is also a question mark because he had little experience compared to Shough and Brown.

This leaves us to guess, ponder and to some bet on the odds. All we can do is wait for the statistics to come in, and the graphs to fill up. Those graphs will tell us much. Who is going to reach their potential and when? Whose graph will suddenly end, no more data transferred? My bet is somebody wins, something unexpected happens and in the end the fans get a qb they are very excited about.

One more item about this statistically analysis is we are looking for an outlier. These type of statistics tend to build quickly. This is the statistic I want to see, the outlier, who will it be?

Jon Joseph

Very interesting take. Does the calculus change knowing that this Brown’s last season of eligibility?


I struggled with Calculus Jon. Can you help me with this one?

Jon Joseph

There’s a reason I went to Law and not Engineering school!

I can mix a mean cocktail but math and I do not mix.


I think my calculus and others will change if Brown’s perceived low ceiling proves higher. My forecast is we will see an outlier arise from those behind Brown, and he will be the next great one!

The training of qb’s is too good to hold a kid back who just needs to learn the offense if he is the outlier I believe we have within this group.

Calculus is the study of rates of change. Brown’s rate seems to be slow and may not change too much. The rate of change within the other group is the one to watch.

As far as knowing it is Brown’s last season, that will only come into play with those factoring in whether to stay.

I know it is only the spring game but Ashford showed me a lot in that game. Now, he has dropped baseball to focus on football.

He’s lean on experience but he sure looks like the best natural athlete in the QB room. He has better tools than did Moorhead’s Penn St QB, McSorley.

Picking up on Hayward’s point, Robbie has, IMO, huge potential. This may be a stretch, but start Brown and lose Ashford and you might end up with a Stafford/Justin Fields situation at Georgia?

The outlier is the kid who has it at the college level, and you just can’t keep him on the bench. We all heard about LaMike tearing it up on the practice team. We also saw a 1,000 yd. rusher transition to receiver because somebody behind him was just too good.

What happened to Byron Marshall may be the best example of what we have this season. A kid who rushed for over a 1,000 yds., and played multiple years in the NFL, was taken out by a freshman.

I think we may just have somebody on the bench we just can’t keep there. Nothing against Brown, but the young guns behind him seem too dynamic and talented to ride the pine. One of them is going to be ‘the one.’

Agree, it isn’t so much doubt, just depth of thinking on a subject. When someone makes me turn my head, look another direction and see a twinkle of light I have never seen, it is a good thing, a very good thing.

This has happened on numerous subjects for me, and most prominent with Allioti within Oregon sports. I always gave him props for recruiting, but now see the many ways he was a great coach!

Jon Joseph

Thanks Hayward. This tech-challenged, math dummy needs all the help he can get!