Oregon Ducks spring football preview: Quarterbacks

Oregon Ducks spring football preview: Quarterbacks
March 25, 2014, 12:30 pm
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Way too early Spring football "who to watch"

Oregon quarterback Jeff Lockie.

(Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports)

Oregon begins spring football practices Tuesday, April 1st with the spring game set for 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 3. In the coming days we will offer a position-by-position look at the team as it prepares for spring drills.

Today: Quarterbacks.

Starter: Marcus Mariota, RJr., 6-4, 215 (Honolulu, Hawaii).

Backups: Jeff Lockie, RSo., 6-3, 194 (Danville, Calif.); Jake Rodrigues, RSo., 6-3, 217 (Rockin, Calif.); Damian Hobbs, RFr., 6-2, 227 (Cedar Hill, Texas.); Taylor Alie, RFr., 6-0, 171 (Eugene). 

What we know: Mariota is the starter and will be a Heisman contender in 2014. No mystery there. He has vowed to improve on his ball security after some costly fumbles last season, and his overall accuracy, which he'll need to raise in order to assure success at the next level

What we don't know: Is there a capable backup on the roster, and, more importantly, is the quarterback of the future already on campus?  Lockie appeared in eight games last season and completed 8-of-13 passes for 57 yards with one interception. He rushed five times for 22 yards and a touchdown. Rodrigues completed 3-of-6 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown with one interception.

Closed practices have made a huge mystery out of this competition.

Four-star recruit Morgan Mahalak will join the group in the fall and could have a shot at becoming the starter in 2015 if one of the returning backups doesn't seize the position.

What we hope to know: The most intriguing part of the spring game will be seeing how Lockie and Rodrigues have progressed. Because public glimpses of the two in action are few and far between, the spring game will be our best indication of how they are progressing.