Stable of 5-Star QB’s: The Pressure is ON Coach Dillingham

DazeNconfused Editorials

The pressure to develop the highest-rated quarterback room in Oregon football history lies squarely upon Oregon’s 32-year-old offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham. Dillingham’s fast-track career trajectory is suddenly tied to fielding an elite-level QB and offense. Will Dillingham meet the Duck fans’ high expectations, or will he fail and tarnish his professional image?

Friday’s 5-Star commit Dante Moore joins fellow 5-Stars Ty Thompson and Bo Nix in the Oregon quarterback room. With three 5-Star QBs and 4-Star Jay Butterfield in his pocket, Dillingham better have results.

Martin Luther King High School Star QB Dante Moore Warms Up Pre-Game.

The Pressure Starts Now

It’s pass-or-fail pressure for Dillingham, and it starts right away with underperforming veteran Bo Nix. Dillingham has to mentor Nix to career-best numbers — no pressure, right? If Nix doesn’t make the jump to the next level, can fans trust that Dillingham is an elite QB developer? With all that talent in the quarterback room, Dillingham will have to field at least one elite quarterback.

A Fluid Quarterback Development Race

Either Thompson or Moore has to explode on the scene in 2023, with a Heisman finalist invite before he’s done. Dillingham has Thompson though the 2024 season, and Moore through the 2025 season, before they are each draft eligible.

If Nix struggles early this year, Dillingham may have to decide he is a bust and take him out. Time can’t be wasted on subpar QB play, so Thompson may need to jump Nix and get his shot to develop in games. It also means that if Moore is nipping on Thompson’s heels in 2023, Dillingham might have to turn to him as well. There may come a day early on when Dillingham decides to go all in on Moore, his guy he can develop his way from day one.

There are Going to be Transfers, Right?

Butterfield may transfer if circumstances don’t let him see the field this year, but Dillingham must keep Thompson and Moore in the fold. Thompson and Moore each need to be sold on the idea that if he is the next Trevor Lawrence, he’ll have an opportunity to play.  And also, if he isn’t, he could be the next late blooming Joe Burrow and still have phenomenal success so long as he sticks with the program.

The moral of the story is, “you’re ready when you’re ready.”

Joe Burrow and LSU set the world on fire in 2019, scoring 48 points per game to win the National Championship.

What Will Success Developing an Elite QB Look Like?

That’s an easy answer: take Joe Burrow his senior year at LSU. No, seriously! Within four years, Dillingham needs to get a quarterback or two in New York as a Heisman finalist. Many of you may think these expectations are high, but after all…these are 5-Star quarterbacks. Aren’t these everyone’s expectations of 5-Star quarterbacks?

If Coach Dillingham can develop Thompson or Moore to become a Heisman finalist and a high first-round NFL draft pick, he will cement his coaching credibility and legacy. If Dillingham fails, it will tarnish his coaching legacy, making it hard for him to ever be trusted with a quarterback room like the one we have at Oregon now.

Am I being a bit harsh? Or are my expectations in line with having three shots in a row, to get it right with 5-Star quarterbacks in the room?

Share your thoughts with me in the OBD Forum!

Portland, Oregon
Top Photo by University of Oregon Athletics

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