- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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The slow news weekend for Oregon continues. Pretty boring, really. New head coach, high-profile backup quarterback leaving. Pretty standard stuff.
That's right, backup quarterback Bryan Bennett has decided to transfer to Southeastern Louisiana, which was first reported by DuckTerritory on Monday and later confirmed by several other news outlets.
Bennett also confirmed the report to CSNNW:
"I love and respect Oregon and everyone that was along that journey of my life. It's time for me to start another journey," he said. "It's just what I feel is right for me."
The news shouldn't be totally shocking. After Marcus Mariota beat out Bennett -- the primary backup to Darron Thomas in the 2011 season -- for the starting job last year, he was on the verge of transferring, but ultimately opted to stay. The quarterback competition last spring and fall between Mariota and Bennett was one of the most closely watched in college football.
Because Oregon blew out the majority if its opponents, usually in the first half, Bennett saw more time than the everyday backup -- completing 20 of 37 passes for 211 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed 39 times for 165 yards and six touchdowns while appearing in 10 games.
The announcement came a day after the school promoted offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to head coach, replacing Chip Kelly who departed for the Philadelphia Eagles. Rob Moseley of the Register-Guard reports the moves are not connected, and that a team source confirmed to him that Bennett had made a decision to leave "some time ago."
Mariota, of course, went on to have a stellar season, leading the Ducks to a 12-1 record, a victory in the Fiesta Bowl over Kansas State and the No. 2 ranking in the final AP and coaches' polls. He was first-team all-conference and the league's Freshman Offensive Player of the Year.
The Pac-12 blog sees this as a good move for Bennett. He's a talented player and was a highly-regarded, four-star recruit. However, for the Ducks, it always hurts to lose an experienced backup. Even in 2011, Bennett appeared in seven games. There are a few quarterbacks in the pipeline behind Mariota, but no one with the experience of Bennett. No other Oregon quarterback attempted a pass in 2012 besides Mariota or Bennett.
He joins an FCS squad from the Southland Conference that went 5-6 overall in 2012, but 5-2 in its conference.
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