“He’s so good in so many facets of the game that we had to keep him on the field to be good in everything else that we do.”-Oregon Offensive Coordinator, Scott Frost, on Marcus Mariota
In the midst of BCS standings and analyzing all the possible scenarios, no matter how far-fetched, that could land the Ducks in the National Championship, Oregon fans are very much focused on one important thing: The health status of Marcus Mariota.
After Saturday’s game against Utah and at post-practice interviews, Mariota has been asked at length about just how much that somewhat mysterious knee injury is impacting his play. Mariota has obviously admitted to it being injured, but has repeatedly said it’s not an excuse and hasn’t really impacted his play. When asked about his limited rushing stats in the last two games, Mariota has essentially said “The look wasn’t there,” meaning defenses were defending well, limiting his ability to run, and he just wasn’t seeing a reason to keep the ball.
This morning, I decided to check in with Offensive Coordinator, Scott Frost, to get his take. Has Marcus been limited by his injury, like most spectators assume, or have the defenses turned up the heat?
Frost validated Mariota’s statements for the most part saying, “Every team plays our read stuff different and the last two teams we’ve played have given us reads to give the ball off.” He went on to explain however that Oregon changed up it’s game plan to protect Mariota.
“He would never lead on that he’s hurting and I think he’s real close to being full speed again now but I definitely think it affected him and it definitely affected us a little from the standpoint that we didn’t design anything to go to him but he’s so good in so many facets of the game that we had to keep him on the field to be good in everything else that we do.”
With a hungry Zona Zoo ready to give a hostile welcome to the Ducks, I think it’s safe to say Duck fans want nothing more than to see a healthy #8 take the field. It looks like they just might get it.