The transfer portal has given Oregon another quarterback who has had struggles in the past and is pushing for a chance at playing in the NFL. Bo Nix I feel is more complete as a quarterback than Anthony Brown is (or was at this respective stage of his transfer), there’s just one major issue I have with Our Beloved Ducks’ program culture if Nix does end up starting for an extended period of time next season.
What will future quarterback recruits say about Oregon?
We are now six years removed from Hawaiian Houdini Marcus Mariota changing the quarterback recruiting game at Oregon, and two years from beloved superstar Justin Herbert. The trend seems to be that following a superstar quarterback playing out their full career, Oregon opts to grab a senior transfer, like Nix, Vernon Adams III, or Brown. Tyler Shough did get a chance during COVID season, there just has been minimal movement in the quarterback room compared to what is expected of the great recruits Oregon has been able to acquire.
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Granted, this is an issue for many teams in college football, and is the toughest position to get right. It just feels as though with Oregon’s situation, they have been able to acquire the talent consistently, and either it’s not transferring, or coaches aren’t willing to take the plunge on letting them start. We end up seeing them for limited snaps, watch them struggle, and then it’s back to the bench with hope of starting next year (unless another senior transfer comes in).
I understand that job security for a coach leans heavily on winning games, but what was the point of letting a struggling Anthony Brown finish out the season? To preserve a chance at a College Football Playoff birth? To ensure when Miami’s head coaching job opens up, you’ll have the first crack at it? The only fair response I would give to the players is for continuity’s sake, which does make a great deal of difference of course.
I know it’s a jab from the stands, but I need to see an Oregon coach let a highly recruited quarterback fall on their face again. Bring the old formula back. Herbert was at least given that shot (even if it was due to injury), and it seems with how he’s performing in the NFL, he didn’t even come close to reaching his full potential at Oregon.
If Cristobal ended the 2021 season 4-8 and we had a quarterback set up for success next year, ready to take the reigns and lead this team, I would be satisfied with that. Sure, the season would have been difficult to stomach all year, isn’t that how it ended up though anyway with the pair of Utah losses (not to mention, the Stanford debacle)?
I personally cannot stomach another Oregon season in quarterback purgatory. I want to believe that Nix is simply acting as an insurance policy to the unbelievably talented quarterback room Oregon already possesses, it’s hard to be sure though with how this season has gone. Having experience at the position only elevates the floor the team starts on, which has never appealed to me as being the potential a team needs to accomplish great (championship level) things.
Taking a risk and letting the team potentially lose a few games in a season to allow a highly talented quarterback to grow and learn from game experience is what I need from the Ducks in 2022. This will be tough with a new coach, so if Nix needs to start a game or two, fine, a season opener against (potentially reigning national champions) Georgia isn’t exactly the most optimal tune up game for a brand new starter anyway. If the season ends, however, and we have no idea again who’s going to start the following season, or end up with another senior transfer to fill in for the most important role in football, I just cannot trust the process of letting quarterback’s develop at Oregon on the bench.
What do you think? Are you expecting Nix to start? If he does, what does this mean to the program’s recruiting future? What do you expect of our new coaching staff and the quarterback room this Spring?
Los Angeles, California
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Alex Heining is a third-year student at the University of Oregon. He’s working towards a bachelor of arts degree as an English major and media studies minor in journalism. Growing up in the Los Angeles area of southern California, Alex ended up a Duck through family ties, a quality football program, and the beautiful green of Lane County. Currently finishing his first science fiction novel, he wants to end up in the sports world of journalism on the west coast. Particularly, covering high school football, recruiting commits, and all things Ducks.
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