Of all the changes taking place in Eugene this summer ahead of the first season of Dan Lanning’s tenure as the Oregon Ducks head coach, who will start at quarterback is far and away the most intriguing.
The battle is likely between Auburn transfer Bo Nix and sophomore Ty Thompson, although returner Jay Butterfield remains in the conversation as well.
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While Lanning will have the final say, new offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham is a big part of this equation, and how he evaluates quarterback growth and development is something he shared with assembled media ahead of Oregon’s first official practice of the new season.
“I think it’s just in between plays, you know, are they directing the show?” Dillingham said. “If somebody is misaligned, are they making it right? Or is the play just going to be a negative? At the end of the day, we talked about extreme ownership in our room, right when you play quarterback. I mean, it is the definition of extreme ownership. Whatever happens is on you. If you don’t score, it’s on you at the quarterback position. So that just goes into taking charge and having extreme ownership over the unit when you’re on the field.”
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Putting the ownership of each play on the quarterback is obviously not for the faint of heart, but neither is playing QB at the Division 1 level. The mental aspect of the quarterback position is crucial to both individual and team success, and finding the right guy to lead this team is paramount to their success.
Nix and Thompson both have high level talent – no doubt about that – but the experience Nix brings after three years as a starter at Auburn will likely give him an advantage heading into the season opener against Georgia on September 3.