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Thursday, April 25, 2013
3-point stance: Marcus Mariota impresses

By Ivan Maisel

1. About the College Football Playoff: I like the name. The Super Bowl isn’t going to morph into the Pro Football Playoff anytime soon, and Mercedes-Benz isn’t going to rename its S600 the Luxury Sedan. But the College Football Playoff has clean lines. It is Zen. And after the complicated, godforsaken, unloved BCS, the College Football Playoff is exactly what the sport needs. At long last, no one has to explain anything. On the other hand, the BCS sure drummed up attention. Can the Playoff match it?

2. Former Oregon head coaches Rich Brooks and Mike Bellotti visited the Ducks’ practice Monday morning at the invitation of new head coach Mark Helfrich. Afterward, Brooks couldn’t get over what he saw from third-year sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota. “He’s so accurate,” Brooks said. “That’s unusual for a young player. I was amazed at his accuracy last year.” Mariota completed 230-of-336 passes (.684) in his first season and led the Pac-12 in passing efficiency. Wait until Oregon opens up the playbook for him.

3. Iowa offensive line coach Brian Ferentz, in describing how his young players learned their jobs this spring, gave a perspective on his head coach that only a son can provide. “It’s kind of like I remember watching Steven learning how to swim,” Brian said of his younger brother, now a Hawkeyes lineman. “My dad (Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz) picked him up and threw him in the water and he learned how to swim.” Not to worry: Steve wore floaties. But that’s not the point. “You throw them in,” Brian said, “they splash around the water a little bit, and they figure out it’s not that bad. They are floating. They will live.”