March 14, 2008

Heading into Spring: Quarterbacks

Quarterback is without question the highest profile position on a football team. Last year the Oregon Ducks entered the spring with two experienced seniors-to-be vying for the starting job. Dennis Dixon ultimately won that battle and had a season for the ages which placed him at the forefront on the Heisman trophy discussion until the knee injury suffered against Arizona State and fully revealed against Arizona cut his season short. This season the Ducks don't have anything like that kind of experience ready to step onto the field for them at the quarterback position. What do they have? Duck Sports Authority gives you its take in the fifth of our series, Heading into Spring.

The Ducks return three scholarship athletes at the quarterback position in Nathan Costa, Cody Kempt and Justin Roper. Each one has earned playing time over the course of their career. Each is a sophomore. This spring will go along way toward determining what the college career of each will entail.

Many Duck fans see Costa as the favorite to earn the starting job heading into the spring. Costa (6'1, 220) earned playing time as a true freshman and last year, a year in which he was expected to play only if disaster should strike both of the veteran quarterbacks ahead of him, he had earned the third spot in the depth chart behind seniors Dennis Dixon and Brady Leaf. As most Duck fans know disaster did indeed strike at quarterback. Unfortunately for Costa and perhaps the Ducks, one element of that multi-faceted disaster was the torn ACL that Costa suffered in late October. That injury prevented Costa from taking over the Ducks' reins when both Dixon and Leaf went down. The injury, or rather the surgery which repaired it, will probably also prevent Costa from participating in contact drills this spring. That may open the door for his competitors.

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