Oregon head football coach Mario Cristobal joined Fox's Big Noon Kickoff Wednesday afternoon to preview the upcoming college football season, and while doing so provided some interesting updates on the football program.
Not least of all, that redshirt sophomore Tyler Shough remains the favorite to start at quarterback for the Oregon Ducks.
Heading in, Tyler Shough, without question, leads for that job. - Mario Cristobal
However, it will still be an open competition ahead of the 2020 college football season.
"We are still going to make it a very tough competition," expanded Cristobal. "We treat the quarterback position like we do every other position and we're going to bring competition. Because competition will eliminate any type of human nature issues that come with having some success. So the addition of a grad transfer in Anthony Brown, the return of some guys that have been here for a little bit as well, the freshmen... we're going to let that competition play itself out. "
[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].
In addition to Boston College graduate transfer Anthony Brown, Shough will compete with redshirt freshman Cale Millen, freshman Jay Butterfield, and redshirt sophomore Bradley Yaffe to see who will replace four-year starter and current Los Angeles Charger Justin Herbert.
Shough, who entered Eugene as a four-star quarterback in 2018 and would have started last season if Herbert had gone pro a year early, has been the favorite to start but with new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, all the quarterbacks will be learning a new playbook.
The Ducks head coach was also asked about dealing with the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming season due to COVID-19 and Cristobal hinted that the Ducks haven't had a positive test yet.
"We've been here now a total of seven and a half, coming up on eight weeks and our processes have been flawless. We don't publicly put our results out there but I think the best way to say [it] is that we have been flawless in our processes and our results."
As for those processes in place to keep the student-athletes of Oregon safe, Cristobal said he "can't imagine anyone having anything better out there but we're always researching. We're always digging. We're always looking for information good and bad out there. Anything that can affect us in a positive way. Anything that can help us enhance our processes."
Then, when the conversation shifted to if the season got delayed a bit due to the pandemic, would he be okay with starting the season in October rather than September, which Cristobal was for, as long as it's safe to play.
"The first thing I would ask, is it safe to play? That's the most important thing, right? Because no matter what kind of shape you're in or how good your team is, you've got to be okay with the fact that there are safety measures taken to make sure that every single person is in good health.
"And if that's the case, of course that's something that we [would] greatly anticipate and crave. We've certainly worked ourselves into a situation where we feel we have a great football team so our guys would love to do it as long as things are going the right way and are safe."
When asked about the possibility of creating regional bubbles to play college football in rather than travel all around the conference, Cristobal said it should be looked into but he hadn't thought too much about it.
"I don't know much about it. I know it's working very well for the NBA... Things like that need to be talked about... Those in charge need to see if something like that is even doable. If it's realistic. But since a lot of this, good and bad, is due to exposure, right, I think all options have to be put on the table and talked about and to the fullest extent pursued if they provide a safe way... It's as simple as that. Is it safe or is it not? If it is, then okay, let's try this. And if it's it not, then there's no point."
One thing is for sure, if college football can be safely played in 2020 Mario Cristobal and the Ducks will be ready to go.
[Listen to the latest Talkin' Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Duck and 8-year NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz.]
Oregon Ducks leader to start at QB is 'without question' Tyler Shough originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest