by Rob Moseley
Starter: For the second year in a row, Mariota was able to start every game for the Ducks, though a knee injury in late October derailed his Heisman Trophy hopes and Oregon’s status as a BCS championship contender. Relied on a bit more heavily as a passer, particularly after his injury, Mariota completed 63.5 percent of his throws for 3,665 yards, 31 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran 96 times for 715 yards – second on the team – and nine touchdowns.
Reserves: Given some one-sided outcomes early, the Ducks were able to get at least seven appearances for both Lockie and Rodrigues, with Lockie first off the bench. Neither had the chance to really move the offense, because games were already in hand, and each accounted for a single touchdown on the season. Lockie showed himself in practices to be a patient decision-maker mature enough to throw the ball away rather than force a throw, and a better runner than he’s given credit. Rodrigues has a cannon for an arm and might have better top-end speed.
Redshirts: The task of operating the scout team was taken up by new faces Hobbs, a 2013 recruit. and the local walk-on Alie. Particularly early on, Alie held his own operating the scout offense, showing off his polish and composure. Hobbs improved his fundamentals as the year wore on, particularly as a thrower. In the run game, Hobbs is a big body who would be tough to bring down at full speed; former UO passer Darron Thomas might be a good comparison.
The Ducks welcome Mariota back with open arms, after he passed up the chance to enter the NFL draft. He’ll look to improve his consistency as a passer in 2014, and can also clean up his ball security in the run game. Lockie and Rodrigues thus face the prospect of another year battling to be the backup; the possibility of guys in that position seeking a transfer can’t be discounted, though neither has publicly expressed interest in doing so. Hobbs and Alie also will continue their development in April practices.