Ducks give look at QBs as spring ends
EUGENE — Oregon quarterback Dakota Prukop had two main goals this spring in Eugene. The graduate transfer from Montana State wanted to build relationships and control the offense.
After the spring game Saturday, Prukop said he'd accomplished both.
Prukop made his first Autzen Stadium appearance as a Duck, giving fans a glimpse of how the quarterback competition is shaping up now that fellow graduate transfer Vernon Adams has moved on. Prukop started for the Mighty Oregon side, while redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen started for the Webfoots.
Prukop finished the first half with a 32-yard touchdown pass to true freshman receiver Dillon Mitchell, pulling Mighty Oregon ahead 7-7 at the break. He added another 31-yard scoring pass to Mitchell in the fourth quarter and completed 20 of 29 passes for 190 yards.
Now it's time to find a new goal.
"I spent a lot of my focus with the offensive line and with the team in general, but we didn't have a lot of time to spend one-on-one with the receivers. ... I'm feeling really comfortable, but there's definitely a lot of room for improvement on my part because there's such amazing receivers here and I need to get them the ball and I can't have wasted opportunities of throwing a bad ball and taking away a touchdown from those guys," he said.
Last season with the Bobcats, Prukop passed for 3,025 yards and 28 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 774 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Big Sky team that finished 5-6.
Adams came to the Ducks from Eastern Washington, but was hampered in his lone season after breaking a finger in the opener against his former team.
Jonsen found Darren Carrington with a 52-yard pass for the Webfoots in the fourth quarter, before running for a 1-yard TD late. But the Webfoots ultimately lost 21-20.
Prukop had appeared to be Adams' likely successor at Oregon, which went 9-4 last season, the first time since 2007 that the Ducks have finished with fewer than 10 wins. The season was capped by a triple-overtime loss to TCU in the Alamo Bowl.
The spring game showed the competition between Prukop, Jonsen and true freshman Terry Wilson is ongoing.
Prukop said when he first arrived at Oregon it felt strange because he was used to being the underdog, and suddenly he was the senior of the group and many people just assumed he's be named the starter.
"So for a while there, I'm so used to being the underdog, and now I'm in different roll and different shoes," he said. "But once the competition really got going and I saw how well Travis and Terry have been playing, I was like, 'OK, cool, we're just in a competition again.' I almost felt more comfortable in a competition."
Coach Mark Helfrich emphasized he hasn't chosen a likely starter.
"No absolutely not,' he said.
Jonsen completed 15 of 24 attempts for 188 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Wilson completed 4 of 10 passes for 22 yards and was picked off once.
Taylor Alie and Jeff Lockie, who both saw playing time at quarterback last season when Adams was hurt, look as though they're being moved to receiver for the upcoming season. Alie had a catch for seven yards on Saturday while Lockie, Marcus Mariota's backup to seasons ago, also had a catch for 11 yards.
Prukop wasn't the only one making an Autzen debut on Saturday. On the sideline was new defensive coordinator Brady Hoke, who was head coach at Michigan from 2011-14. The Ducks also have a new offensive coordinator in Matt Lubick, who was promoted from wide receivers coach after Scott Frost took the head coaching job at Central Florida.
With blue and white uniforms for the game, the Ducks paid tribute to the 1916 team that beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl. Before 1925, Oregon's colors were blue, yellow and white.
The spring game capped off the Ducks' 15-pactice spring camp. Attendance was announced at 35,110.