Evidently, there was more Marcus Mariota wanted to accomplish at Oregon.
After a season in 2013 that saw the Ducks signal caller battle Jameis Winston for the Heisman Trophy for most of the season until the wheels came off in a Pac-12 loss to Stanford. After that, Mariota, who had battled fumbling issues and defenses figuring him out, was just about average.
Now, with two spring scrimmages under his belt, Mariota wants to not only prove this will be his season in college football, but his leadership has improved in Oregon’s march toward a national title.
There are plenty of challenges facing numerous teams in the Pac-12, but Mariota may have the most to prove in the conference this season.
“The way I am, naturally just quiet, isn’t from a leadership standpoint good enough,” Mariota said. “I think I’ve learned that, made amends with it and just continue to focus on it.”
The dailyemerald.com story was taken from the team’s second scrimmage, one where there was not a lot of Mariota to see, but the communication between the quarterback and the coaching staff proved to be valuable in his maturation process on his way to possibly earning a Heisman Trophy and the top spot in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Mariota’s attitude about this and his actions today in the spring game encourage head coach Mark Helfrich, and Mariota appreciates the pressure from Helfrich to get him to this point.
“A lot of people don’t really tend to understand my body language,” Mariota said. “But I think he (Helfrich) has been around me enough that he understands it and I think he wants me just to be confident and show leadership.”
If Mariota continues to play at a Heisman trophy level, leadership and body language likely won’t be a huge concern to Helfrich and the rest of the team. But if he continues to be vocal like he was during Monday’s scrimmage, Mariota could provide an unseen positive effect on the Ducks’ success come fall.
Mariota will feel the heat from not only Winston, but from Baylor’s Bryce Petty and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller on his way toward single glory. As for his team, the leadership qualities that are improving will serve the school well.