QUARTERBACK BATTLE IS SET FOR FALL CAMP – Will Cristobal Select his Highly Rated Incumbent Tyler Shough, or Will he Choose Transfer Anthony Brown?
Perhaps every article posted from here forward should include the disclaimer that there will be a ( resemblance ) of a college football season in 2020.
With that out of the way, the transfer of former Boston College quarterback Anthony Brown to Oregon, if anything, made fall camp in August just a bit more interesting.
Everyone assumed, (and rightly so), that Tyler Shough would assume the starting role of Duck quarterback to lead the Oregon offense when Justin Herbert departed for the NFL.
But nothing in life, or football, comes easy.
Brown isn’t traveling 3,000 miles across the country to Eugene just to spend his final year of eligibility holding the proverbial clipboard.
The former Eagle started 28 games in his first three seasons, threw for 4,738 yards and 40 touchdowns. In his career, he was picked off 20 times, but his accuracy dramatically improved his junior season as he was intercepted just twice.
Brown also missed the final six games of the 2019 campaign with a leg injury, skewing his numbers even further.
At 6-2, 220 pounds, and averaging nearly 200 yards a game through the air, Brown seems like the perfect candidate to be that stop-gap quarterback Oregon needs at the moment.
With the Ducks’ running game and defense, Brown wouldn’t need to be a gunslinger. If his accuracy continues to improve (59 percent last season) and if does everything expected to protect the ball, he has a legitimate shot of leading this Oregon offense.
Head coach Mario Cristobal won’t simply hand the reins of his offense to Brown because of his past experience.
He’ll have to earn it. And he’ll have to earn it over Tyler Shough.
The 6-5, 225-pounder from Chandler, Ariz. isn’t about to give up his job without a fight. As a redshirt sophomore, Shough will be entering his third year at Oregon and he knows the ins and outs of Cristobal’s system.
He knows the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers, and all of their tendencies. He won’t have to learn anything in just the span of a camp. He already knows all of that.
The one crinkle in that plan though, is the new offense likely to be inserted by new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.
It’s unfortunate for Shough that he didn’t have a Spring Game to showcase his talents as the No. 1 guy.
Although he has completed 12-of-15 passes in his career and was the top recruit to come out of Arizona in 2017, it’s still a big unknown as to how he would handle being the starting quarterback for a team that’s expected to win the Pac-12, make a return trip to the Rose Bowl and who knows what else from there.
Most likely, Shough will handle it just fine, but until he gets a chance to show the coaching staff, it’s still unknown.
Oregon also has had mixed results in the past when it comes to senior transfers at the quarterback position.
Is Brown another Dakota Prukop, who was serviceable, but not a star by any means.
Or is Brown another Vernon Adams, a quarterback was able to make the transition but was injury-prone.
Cristobal’s track record of making good decisions has been an excellent one so far and one has to believe he’ll make the correct decision here.
Whatever the choice, Oregon will be better for it.
~ Don Smalley