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.
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.”
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!
Top Photo by University of Oregon Athletics
I was born a Cali kid and my uncle is a USC Alum. Remember going to an SC game when I was like 5 with him. I moved to Oregon in 77 when I was 6 and became a Duck fan long ago. I remember Reggie Ogburn OB days, so it was before the Ducks got good. I’ve been a sports nut since I was a kid.
I went to Tigard High about the same time as linebacker Jeremy Asher did, and I watched him team with Rich Ruhl on the inside of the Gang Green defense.
Lots of Ducks memories, Danny O’Neil’s passing in 1st Rose Bowl, Kenny Wheaton, Joey’s comebacks early in his career and how jacked up he got!
FishDuck Going to Articles on Monday and Tuesday Only…
Our off-season schedule begins, and we move from publishing articles seven days a week to Mondays and Tuesdays only. Same great group of writers, and we will have an article on other days on occasion.
The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there. At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.
Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
OBD Forum members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!