The time has arrived Oregon fans!
Autzen Stadium’s gates will finally open and the 2015 season opener’s main storyline couldn’t be any more intriguing. Not only will tomorrow’s kick off star the first post-Mariota quarterback with Vernon Adams taking his first snaps as an Oregon Duck, but he will also be facing the team he just left.
After 3 years of incredible success at Eastern Washington University, Adams grabbed Oregon’s attention and ultimately accepted an offer to join the Ducks for a final season of eligibility. Though exciting for fans, the situation could not be more “unfortunate,” as described by Oregon Coach, Marc Helfrich. But as they say, the show must go on. And it will.
Without a doubt, there are a number of playmakers set to put on a good show this season but tomorrow, all eyes will be on Vernon Adams. With Oregon’s practices being closed and Adams’ limited ability to face the cameras here in Eugene (until tomorrow), very little is known about him and what the past three weeks have looked like for him. What fans do know is that he has a very impressive resume, highlight reel and perhaps most importantly, he managed to dismantle both Oregon State and Washington in 2014. What fans also know is that Adams’ journey from EWU to Oregon was not made without sacrifice, not only for his former team and his family but for Oregon quarterback Jeff Lockie.
Though Ducks fans are beyond excited to see what Adams can bring to Oregon, his recent arrival and almost immediate t victory in the quarterback race means Lockie, a fan favorite, who paid his dues playing backup to Mariota for two years, will have to take a back seat yet again- years of sacrifice, work and improvement seemingly not enough. It’s hard not to feel bad for Lockie and the pill he just had to swallow. But again, the show must go on.
Adams has won the starting job and now it will be up to him to prove he deserves it. My guess is he will. This is his big debut, with a team he considered his “dream school,” and given his maturity and experience on the field, he should be able to manage the inevitable nerves this “unfortunate” match up will bring.
Questions naturally remain, however. Has Adams had enough time to build the chemistry needed to lead this team all the way back to the natty (yes, the expectations are that high)? Has he had enough time to learn the offense and become conditioned enough to execute its up-tempo style? Will he pass this firs test of many to come?
If the Oregon coaches’ quick decision is any indicator, Adams should pass with flying colors and must be something incredible. He’d have to be. As Head Coach, Marc Helfrich put it, “It was just time. The separation was enough.”
Until the evidence is on display in game time however, the fan Jury is still out. Fortunately, they won’t have to deliberate long. In less than 24 hours, the verdict will be read loud and clear.