Oregon spring game preview


Fans will get their first glimpse of the post-Marcus Mariota era at Oregon on Saturday when the Ducks take the field for their spring game. Here are a few storylines to follow:

1. Does Jeff Lockie look like a QB who can compete with Vernon Adams this fall? Whether or not you believe that Adams will be the starting quarterback when Oregon takes on Eastern Washington in the Ducks' season-opener, Lockie's performance will be interesting to monitor. The heir apparent to Mariota’s throne until Adams’ name came up, Lockie spent most of the spring answering questions about a quarterback 450 miles away. This Saturday, he’ll get to be the star of the show. Expect him to take advantage of the big stage and set forth in motion one of the more interesting quarterback competitions in the country. All Saturday is going to do is add fuel to the debate. Mark Helfrich said on Thursday that he is in no rush to announce a starter, and he could wait to make a public proclamation up until a week-and-a-half before the season-opener. Will we get any definitive answers Saturday? Nope. That won't happen for awhile. But it will be a good look into what we can expect from the competition.

2. Where does Thomas Tyner fit? Tyner has had to fight for every touch during his career at Oregon. As a freshman, he battled with Byron Marshall. As a sophomore, he battled with Royce Freeman. Both Marshall and Freeman are still on the roster, and the junior Tyner is going to have to continue to fight for everything he can get. Was his 124-yard performance against Florida State just a flash in the pan? Will he finish a distant second to Freeman? Or is he going to be battling with Freeman for carries this fall? How good would he have to be in order for the Ducks to consider this a wider committee approach? Or, will we see him move into a bigger pass-catching role -- a la Marshall? The spring game could give us some answers to all these questions.

3. Could this be the coming out party for some early enrollees? Early enrollees are players who want to get a jump start on their fellow classmates for playing time. But with an Oregon team that’s looking to replace a lot of key players and lots of depth, how many of the early enrollees could we see as potential starters after Saturday’s scrimmage? The two names that have jumped out so far this spring are defensive lineman Canton Kaumatule and defensive back Ugo Amadi. It sounds like both players are picking up the scheme pretty well, and both came in at a good physical size for seniors in high school. On Sunday morning, could it be two freshmen who steal the show and become the talk of the summer?

4. A player to watch: Henry Mondeaux. It sounds like Mondeaux has played in several different spots in the Ducks’ front seven, and that versatility has made him stand out to defensive coordinator Don Pellumm, who told The Oregonian that Mondeaux has been the most consistent player on defense this spring. Yes, that includes multi-year starters and some names that have gotten way more publicity this spring. This makes Mondeaux an interesting name to watch this Saturday because A) he’s a name we haven’t heard much from this spring B) he could see playing time in several spots on defense.