EUGENE, Ore. -- After recent practices this spring, Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick has found himself repeating the same sentiment -- that quarterback Dakota Prukop's best practice was also the most recent one.
He said it two weeks ago and again this past week, explaining that Monday had been his best practice and before that it had been Friday’s practice.
Prukop's take? He just needed time to settle in; he just needed 20 to 30 reps for everything to start feeling like football instead of a crash course in a foreign language.
“It starts clicking, it starts feeling smooth and you start sitting back there and trusting the reads,” Prukop said. “I wouldn’t say I was nerves [before]. It was more so just getting comfortable in the offense.”
It was a similar timing that most of the Oregon staff saw with former transfer quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. He needed about two weeks before everything started to click, but the biggest difference was that two weeks into his experience was also about two weeks out from the Ducks’ season opener. Two weeks in for Prukop is about four-and-a-half months out from the Ducks’ season opener.
The difference in that timing has allowed the Oregon offensive staff to focus on just the offense instead of a game plan with Prukop, a luxury that time wouldn’t allow for Adams. If Prukop struggles with a certain aspect of the offense, rather than scrapping it Lubick puts it on a mental list of things to work on with Prukop before August.
Lubick believes the similar timing between Prukop and Adams’ adjustment into the offense is rooted in what ties the two together the most -- their confidence.
Both have had success at the college level because they know how to learn a college-level offense, which is a lot about taking early lumps and turning those into learning moments.
“They’re both very similar in the fact that they make a mistake and they’re able to put it behind them,” Lubick said. “They don’t let one mistake lead to another. They learn from things, they don’t dwell on them. That’s the thing you worry about. A young guy might make mistakes and start losing confidence. They out-think themselves.”
But to this point, Prukop hasn’t been out-thinking himself and that has led to a better level of comfort every day. For him, it’s starting to feel more like how he felt at Montana State, where he had a mastery of the offense and the full trust of everyone on the team.
“I always knew what was going on,” Prukop said. “I didn’t even have to look. I knew where people were going to be and I’m slowly getting back to that point.”
And slow isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Prukop, who has months to get ready for his first game as a Duck. Little by little, everything is being pieced together. He hopes he’s able to continue his progress so that when Oregon hits the field for games, the coaches can keep saying that his best game was the most recent one, too.