With Justin Roper getting his scholarship release last week, there was much speculation on his reasons for release. Well, today he spoke out regarding his reasons for transferring, so let's take a look over the QB position and what we can expect from the media, and from the position next season.
First of all, good luck to Justin. From all accounts, he's a wonderful person, and has been a great teammate over the past year. There is no fault in him looking to do what is best for himself, and I wish him the best, wherever that may be.
But Roper's transfer has brought out all manner of craziness, to such a degree, that yesterday, I actually praised John Canzano. Unfortunately, the Oregonian is at it again, and this time John Hunt is getting into the act, playing up controversy for the sake of controversy. Here's a paragraph that stuck out to me.
And you can't fault Kelly for wanting to keep Roper around. Roper knows the offense well, he throws the best ball on the team, and he has proven himself in big game.
Then later, this:
Kelly favors a quarterback who can pass and run, not a passer who can run a bit. Dennis Dixon, although not recruited by Kelly, was the prototype.
These types of comments are fairly commonplace, but shouldn't be accepted from the teams beat reporters, especially those that vote in the AP poll. In this piece, and in countless others like it, there is an underlying idea that passing is secondary, that it can be sacrificed in Chip Kelly's system for running. This by itself is laughable. But to play up the running versus passing debate by claiming the Roper threw the best ball of Oregon's QBs is either totally ignorant, or a flat out lie. It's an easy, but incorrect, story.
Roper, in my opinion, threw the worst ball out of any of our QBs over the spring. His release is slow, and his arm strength isn't there either. When he throws, he seems to go slow and steady in an attempt to control the accuracy, but sacrifices significant ball speed in the process. Unfortunately, this doesn't even help his accuracy that much. And while none of the QBs is perfect, all throw better looking balls than Roper. All have quicker releases with better strength.
So, as much as certain writers want to create this artificial controversy, there is none. The best quarterback will play for the Ducks. Right now, the best throwing quarterback is the starter. He just also happens to be a very good runner. Roper was a clear number two in both respects.
So, where does all this leave Oregon? Well, first, if Masoli goes down, for any extended period of time, it will get dicey. But due to Roper's strengths and weaknesses, he would have given the team a better chance to beat mediocre teams, but a worse chance to beat good teams. If Costa or Thomas plays, I feel that both, if things work out, have a much higher upside than Roper ever did. But with Roper, you knew what you were going to get. Thomas or Costa have the physical ability to be very successful as Oregon's QB, but both have their downsides.
What this means, is that if this season's goal is a Pac-10 title, Roper's transfer will most likely not affect that. I don't feel that he would possess the ability to beat the upper half of the Pac-10. With Costa/Thomas at the helm, we have a higher probability of winning those games, but also of flaming out. And you know what, I'll take that chance. I want our team to be put in a position to achieve it's highest goals, even if that means we have a higher chance of a spectacular implosion. Masoli, Thomas, and Costa all give Oregon a chance to succeed, and I feel good about all of them.
Good luck with your endeavors, Justin. You'll always be a Duck. Well, unless you transfer to Washington.