EUGENE, Ore. — The Ducks opened fall camp with their annual media day and much of the focus was on the quarterback battle. With Darron Thomas gone, sophomore Bryan Bennett or redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota will fill the void. Head Coach Chip Kelly even suggested a two quarterback system is possible.
“I’m not opposed to playing two quarterbacks,” Kelly said. “It’s kind of like Pirates of the Caribbean. There are rules for pirates and there are guidelines for pirates.”
What Kelly was getting at is that he’s open-minded. He said if the competition is “dead smack even” then a two quarterback system is possible.
But Kelly said every quarterback battle that he’s been a part of someone has won the job and it’s been obvious to everyone who the winner was.
“If we get the opportunity to both play then by all means,” Marcus Mariota said. “I feel like we both can go out there and make defenses have to adjust to us.”
At this point, the only thing that’s clear is that the competition is wide open.
Mariota wowed in the spring game, but has yet to have any real game action. Bennett started one game last season in the absence of Darron Thomas but is still unproven as a full-time starter.
“It’s like a teabag,” Kelly said. “You don’t know what you have until you put it in hot water. I’ve got a lot of faith, after seeing Bryan for a couple years now and Marcus for a full year now, in both those guys’ abilities to play, but until they actually get in a game it’s always an interesting dynamic. ”
Neither Mariota nor Bennett went too into depth about the competition at media day — instead, deferring to the usual clichés of taking it one day at a time and trying to get better each day.
Kelly said he and his staff will take the full 22 practices of fall camp before determining a depth chart for Arkansas State.
Lyerla Not With Team, Yet
Kelly revealed Monday that tight end Colt Lyerla, the expected replacement for David Paulson, is not yet with the team.
“Colt Lyerla’s … got a couple things to take care of and should be at practice shortly,” Kelly said.
He didn’t clarify whether it was an academic issue or something else and didn’t give an exact timetable for his return other than “shortly”.