It was no surprise after Comcast Sportsnet NW leaked that Adams would miss some time due to a broken finger. We all saw Adams become successful at his first stint with the Oregon Ducks against his former team Eastern Washington. Let us be honest with ourselves though, Eastern Washington is a no-brainer as far as an easy win for the ducks. So it is hard to judge a good quarterback when they are playing with lower level opponents. Chalk it up to good experience for the future for the short-timer though.
In his second game against Michigan State, Adams seemed more hesitant, and frankly, making Oregon look like a lower level opponent at times. Coming off a major loss in a winnable game, Oregon finally succumbed to the truth once it leaked out that Adams had a broken finger. It just brought on even more questions for Duck coaches and especially the head coach and offensive coordinator. Is a “broken” Vernon Adams better than a health Jeff Lockie?
There is no debate on the forefront about Jeff Lockie and his dedication to the program. He has been with the team long enough and is familiar with the playbook to say the least. The job as starter, as we heard of, was up for grabs during spring training. I think Helfrich already made up his mind when the transfer for Adams went through though. That is a pretty easy fact to see especially as time has passed and Helfrich continues to stick with his troubling quarterback that had difficulties passing a college match class. We are not sure what match class, so it could have been calculus, but my ominous assumption is that it was something like Algebra 101. You remember, 4x + 7 = 15… now solve for x.
The question remains now that the Oregon Duck season turns to Pac-12 opponents… how bad does Adams have to look before Helfrich pulls him out and Lockie has his chance? Lockie looked decent during the Georgia State game, but as it was mentioned above, their opponent was not Pac-12 material, so the results can look skewed. 23 of 31 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad for Lockie and the experience is good too.
The firm answer will likely come in the next week of practice and play between the two quarterbacks. Utah coming up on Saturday is a decent opponent, not great, but decent. It should give the coaching staff a real look to see what Adams can do in the Oregon offense. If Lockie starts, which is likely, it could mean a real shot for Lockie to prove himself to the coaching staff. Even playing great though, Adams is still listed as number one on the depth chart…. So with easy games coming up, even if Lockie played well… it still may be a moot point, because I’m sure Adams will be back in time to play the terrible Colorado team and Washington State after that. The bright side for Oregon Ducks fans is that the next few weeks looks relatively easy schedule wise. With Utah on 9/26, at Colorado on 10/3 and Washington State on 10/10…. My suspicion is the next decent opponent will be at Washington on 10/17 and at Arizona State on 10/29.
The next few weeks will be telling for the Oregon Ducks who probably have their fingers crossed that teams in the Top 10 start losing more. Upsets will be needed if Oregon wants to try and have a chance at entering the 4 playoff spots at the end of the season. A Pac-12 Championship will definitely help and push the selection committee. Another loss though (like to USC on Nov 21) could be deadly for a championship contender (even with a Pac-12 Championship). If you are going to lose a game in college football season, lose in the beginning and finish strong. Fingers crossed.
Matt Brown – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor
Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Matt Brown is Sports & Business Management Consultant with experience working with everyone from small and local Mom & Pop shops to working with professional sport league’s on business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge on the business side of sports, a side that many fans don’t get to see too often when they watch their favorite team battle each week.