The Oregon spring football game of 2012 was a smashing success for many Oregon football players but none had as big of an impact as freshmen quarterback Marcus Martioa who threw for 202 yards and ran for another 99 yards and scored three touchdowns total.
Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was asked plenty of questions following the Spring game, especially about the competition between Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota. He first jokingly responded about the competition, “I didn’t see anything. I was running around like an idiot.”
Kelly did detail the competition in some depth though. “I thought, obviously, Marcus did a really nice job. I think there was a couple times both those guys forced the ball a little bit… you don’t have to make it happen, you have to let it happen. I think it’ll be a good learning lesson for both of those guys. It was great that we could get them on a big stage…and see what that atmosphere was really like. I think Marcus had a really good day, there were some decisions he could’ve made better. I thought, at times, Bryan did some really good things. When you split yourself into teams, sometimes you’re victimized by some drops, some protection things. We’ll look at the tape and see where they are. I’m pleased with our quarterbacks…it’s not a position where I’m worried whether it’s Bryan or Marcus next year. I’m confident in both of those guys.”
In typical Chip Kelly manner, he affirmed that both players’ performances today shouldn’t be blown out of proportion. “It’s April 28th and we play on September 1st. Both kids did things today they need to learn from, both positively and negatively... It’ll be neat for us, as coaches, to see what improvement is made over the summer... Let’s see whose better when we come back in August” Kelly said.
Kelly was very complimentary of Mariota though, especially about his mental toughness. “He’s got that Hawaiian Islands, laid back, cool breeze kind of attitude and it helps him… The one thing about him, is when he puts it into gear, like he did on that long run, he may be thinking like a laid back guy, but he can run a lot faster than a laid back guy.”
Kelly also spoke highly of Bryan Bennett despite his team being blown out, citing the fact that splitting up into teams may have affected how he looked by comparison. “There are times when you look at Bryan, he’s got the ball right on a guy but he drops it. Is that the quarterback’s fault or the receiver’s fault? We’ll grade them through the spring on the totality of what they did all 15 practices.”
Another player that Kelly was asked about was former blue chip recruit, Arik Armstead. “There’s not a drop off” Kelly said of Armstead. “He fits in with Taylor and Isaac and some of those guys. He’s big, he’s physical, he can run. We’re really, really happy with how mature he is. Been impressed with him through the totality of the spring, we really didn’t focus individually on today.”
In terms of the rest of the team, Kelly said of the biggest thing they need to work on heading into next year “Overall I think its developing depth.” When asked about the game in general, the first thing that Kelly said was“I thought the crowd was awesome.” He also went on to say that “The emotion we just felt in the locker room when we had all those people in there was pretty cool.”