Oregon will trot out a new starter at quarterback this week after Justin Herbert’s broken collarbone will force him to miss the next month or more.
That much is certain. But who will it be?
Ducks coach Willie Taggart isn’t letting on, and he’s doing it at an almost frustrating pace.
“We still have today’s practice, tomorrow’s practice, Friday’s practice and we have a late game so we have all day Saturday” to make a choice between Taylor Alie and Braxton Burmeister, Taggart said, per The Oregonian’s Andrew Greif. The video of Taggart’s Wednesday meeting with reporters is below, via The Oregonian’s Jen Beyrle.
Taggart didn’t tip his hand one bit when pressed on how the two quarterbacks did.
Both Alie and Burmeister “did a good job; practice was efficient and energetic and we got a lot done,” Taggart said. “They completed some passes, handed the ball off and we had some good blocks and had some bad blocks. We had some really good throws and not too many bad throws so it was a good day.”
A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. No indication either way from Taggart.
But who can blame the coach for keeping things close to the vest? With another important conference game at home against a tough Washington State team, which is fresh off an upset win over USC, nothing good can come out of revealing anything to Mike Leach’s staff during the week of preparation.
As for getting ready to call a game without the budding sophomore star Herbert, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo wasn’t much more revealing.
“We have to go out and revise just like any of us would do if any of your networks or businesses, or anything else, if you went out sick for two weeks or three weeks or whatever,” Arroyo said, again via Greif. “You’re not going to fold up shop and just take off.”
“I don’t think there’s anything that sets them truly that far apart,” Arroyo added.
With very little being offered publicly, the two sharing everything similar but age (Burmeister is a true freshman, while Alie is a redshirt senior) and each getting his due reps in practice, don’t be surprised if both see action against Washington State. For once, the Ducks have the advantage of a potential surprise, though Leach’s staff is likely preparing to face both.