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IF NOT MARCUS MARIOTA, THEN WHO?

If Not Now, When?

via boomerpdx

via boomerpdx

Anyone who watched the Ducks lose to Arizona on Thursday night had to see one glaring mistake. Make that two. Okay, three.

Marcus Mariota is called the best college football player in America. The experts calling him out know what they’re talking about. You can’t call someone the best and mean ‘the best, except for…”

Is he the best in college football? He’s got my vote.

What doesn’t have my vote is the way he’s being punished by game plans, or lack of game plans.

Mariota has the arm, the speed, and the eye for winning games. What he doesn’t have is a coordinator with the sort of vision he needs.

When you’ve got the best, why not set him up in a game plan to show how good he can be. Mariota has been a surprise in some games, while in others he looks almost ordinary.

Average is what you get when you put your best weapon in a position that doesn’t allow him to flourish.

Pocket passer? Please.

Every big armed load of a quarterback can take a direct snap and stand there until his receivers come open. They take the hits because they can’t get out of the way.

Watching Mariota stand in and get crushed was more than disappointing. It makes you wonder if the Oregon coaches forgot what he’s capable of, or if they’ve reviewed any film lately.

Sure this Duck is big enough to take PAC12 hits, but why expose him to the sort of danger that will turn him into a Robert Griffin III before his time?

Quick, someone tell offensive coordinator Scott Frost that his offensive line is a patchwork of players, that his best unit hasn’t found a way to play together yet. Injuries do that.

Next Man Up isn’t the same as Best Man Up.

Installing Mariota as a defensive line’s whipping post ought to be a criminal matter. If the line can’t block well enough to keep him clean, then turn him loose. Move the pocket and tire the big boys out. Chasing Mariota is enough to break anyone down.

Move the pocket and throw against the grain. Well-coached teams do it all the time. Shock the college football world with innovation and challenges. In other words, channel some Chip Kelly. No one’s going to think you don’t have your own ideas if they see some Chip influence. Think of it as a tribute.

With UCLA up next in Pasadena, show them what a mobile quarterback, the best quarterback in the land, looks like. Their guy, Brett Hundley, just took the sort of beating from Utah on Saturday that ends seasons. Mariota got his Thursday night from Arizona. The Bruins will come out looking for more of those hits.

Again, move the pocket and tire out the defensive line. Use superior conditioning to break the other guys and make them take those phony ‘I got a cramp’ injury timeouts. Then what?

Let Mariota use the weapons he brings to the game. Run the option, the read-option, the run-out, the bubble-screens. You remember the bubble screens?

Run the defense ragged then feed it a steady diet of Thomas Tyner on the edge. ESPN lists him at 5’11”, 215lbs, but don’t say anything about his speed. If you’ve got a burner in the backfield, light him up on the outside instead of sending him into the pile time after time.

He wants to break out, his fans want him to break out. Isn’t it more likely he’ll get there on the edge against guys smaller than the monsters of the midway?

If the Oregon coaching staff needs to play a game of ‘Do What We Say Or You Won’t Play’ then do it in practice. On game day give the best players a chance to show how much more they can do.

Put them in the best place to help win games, and they will.

That’s the difference between a #2 national ranking and a #12.

About David Gillaspie
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