LOS ANGELES, Calif.– At Friday’s Pac-12 Media Day, Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich was joined by two Ducks with big expectations for this upcoming season.
Oregon was represented by quarterback Marcus Mariota and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Both figure to be preseason All-Americans.
Mariota spent part of his summer as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy. He said he mostly taught the zone read drills. Being a teacher and leader is something that Mark Helfrich wants Mariota to improve on with the Ducks this year. Mariota has a laid back approach, but his coach wants that to change.
“Coach Helfrich wants me to be a little more vocal, and get out of my shell a little bit,” Mariota said, “I got to thank [teammates] because they’ve helped me with that. I tend to be a little quiet in nature, but it’s one of those things that I’m learning.”
Like Mariota, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is a guy who is finally getting noticed on a national scale. Some mock NFL drafts for 2014 have Ekpre-Olomu going in the first round, and he’s just a junior.
The cornerback is more focused now on leading what figures to be one of the nation’s best secondary — the Ducks bring back all four starters in that unit.
“Just the other day, we were doing 7-on-7, and we had all four guys from last year,” Ekpre-Olomu said. “It just felt so natural. We’ve been with the same guys for a couple of years now.”
RAW INTERVIEWS WITH THE DUCKS:
Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich:
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota:
Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu: