Ducks keep QB decision a mystery
Twelfth-ranked Oregon wouldn't reveal its starting quarterback for today against Georgia State. Coach Mark Helfrich wouldn't even say if it was a game-time decision.
"Maybe, maybe not," Helfrich said after practice this week in advance of the game between the Ducks (1-1) and Panthers (1-1) at Autzen Stadium.
Earlier this week, starter Vernon Adams Jr. revealed he had a broken index finger on his throwing hand, sustained in the season opener against his former team Eastern Washington.
Adams even went so far as to say it bothered him late in Oregon's 31-28 loss to now-No. 4 Michigan State. Oregon cut the Spartans' lead with Adams' touchdown pass to Byron Marshall with about three minutes to go, but on the Ducks' last drive he overthrew a wide-open Marshall.
Adams shared reps in practice this week with Jeff Lockie, who was Marcus Mariota's backup last season. Adams, who transferred to Oregon from Eastern Washington for his final season of eligibility, won the starting job over Lockie in fall camp.
Adams was confident: "We'll see. Game-time decision. But it's feeling good, and I feel like I'm going to play."
In the first two games this season, Adams has thrown for 555 yards and three touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice. Should he play on Saturday, he needs just seven yards passing to reach the 11,000-yard mark for his career.
Here are some other things to know when the Ducks play the Panthers:
STILL YOUNG: Georgia State launched its football program in 2010 and in 2013 jumped to FBS-level competition in the Sun Belt Conference. It's been a rocky start. The Panthers went 0-12 overall the first year, then 1-11 last year. The 34-32 victory over New Mexico State last weekend was the program's first in the conference since rejoining it — Georgia State was one of the founding member of the Sun Belt in 1976 but left in 1981.
ADDISON CLOSE: Receiver Bralon Addison scored on a punt return during the loss to Michigan State, giving him three such TDs at Oregon, one short of the school record shared by Cliff Harris and Keenan Howry.
Addison, who sat out last season after knee surgery, finished with a career-high 236 all-purpose yards against the Spartans, including seven catches for 138 yards, and four punt returns for 98 yards.
HURTING RECIEVERS: Georgia State's receiving corps is hurting. Donovan Harden, who led the Panthers last season with 60 catches for 885 yards and seven touchdowns, broke his foot in fall camp and won't be back until next month. Then senior Avery Sweeting broke his collarbone in the opener against Charlotte.
But the Panthers have seen the emergence of freshman Penny Hart, who has 12 catches for 203 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games.
QUOTABLE: "The guys are all right. They're (ticked) off, which is good. But people are just ready to come back out here and work. No one's blaming anyone. We're just frustrated as a whole that we didn't get the win, we just want to come out and play better this week," said Byron Marshall, reflecting on the loss to Michigan State.
REALLY, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: Oregon proved last season that one loss doesn't make a season. The Ducks fell at home to unranked Arizona, which dropped them from No. 2 to No. 12 in the rankings. But the team regrouped and reeled of nine straight victories and a spot in the championship game of college football's first playoffs.
"There's a bunch of guys that were in the same locker room and we just talked about how that galvanized us last year, and there's absolutely zero reason why that can't happen again," Helfrich said.