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Dakota Prukop And The Next Man Up

Dakota Prukop is Oregon's starting quarterback headed into the 2016 season. He follows Vernon Adams as the latest FCS QB to make the jump to the Ducks. Will the Oregon mantra "Next man up" still hold true for Prukop?

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Dakota Prukop is the second FCS quarterback in as many years to transfer to Oregon.  He's enrolling at Oregon to play at the highest level of college football and to prove himself to give him a better shot of playing on Sundays.  Dakota has been an exceptional player in the FCS and is looking to show the country that he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the country at any level.

Much noise was made last year when Vernon Adams said he would enroll at Oregon as a grad student for his fifth and final year of eligibility.  Adams was a superstar in the FCS with his passing skills and ability to extend plays.  But the FCS is different, obviously, from FBS football.  In the FBS players are bigger, leaner, faster, stronger, and the game simply moves at a different speed.  Having said that, people who can play football well can play across almost any level of competition.  Vernon Adams was a success story last year and he turned out to be one of the most vital pieces on the team.  Now, Dakota Prukop enters the scene.

Dakota Prukop and Vernon Adams were the top QBs in the Big Sky conference.  In 2014 Eastern Washington beat Montana State 52-51.  Vernon Adams finished with 358 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and two interceptions.  Dakota Prukop threw for 248 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

Prukop differs from Adams in a few ways.  First, he is a much better runner.  Vernon Adams used his mobility to extend plays but Prukop can run.  Prukop ran away from people in the FCS, has size at 6'2" 195, and is much less prone to sacks than Vernon Adams was.  Adding a dangerous run threat will be a nightmare for Oregon's opponents.  Second, Prukop is slightly better throwing deep and on play-action, although Vernon Adams is probably better on intermediate routes.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Oregon throw a few more deep balls than we've seen in recent years to take advantage of our receivers' speed and Prukop's great deep passes.

Lastly, one of the things that Prukop has going for him that Adams didn't was having a full offseason with the team.  Adams had only three weeks with the team before starting his first game in the season opener.  I believed Adams would succeed regardless because when you get down to it an out route is an out route and a play-action post route is a play-action post route no matter what field you're on or what uniform you're in.  But having more experience with the team only makes things easier, which is pretty self-evident.  In the spring game we saw many majestic check down passes.  I would totally believe that that many passes that occurred within three yards of the line of scrimmage was intentional by the coaching staff.

The quarterback position at Oregon has seen a lot of success over the last few years.  All types of quarterbacks and skill sets have succeeded.  Helfrich has received a lot of criticism for a perceived lack of quarterback development.  While I disagree I can understand how people can justifiably arrive at that conclusion.  I've always felt that Oregon just needs above average quarterback play for the offense to succeed at a high level with all the offensive weapons around him.  Now the platoon has a playmaker at the quarterback position with a full offseason of experience with the Ducks.

We haven't seen much of Dakota Prukop in an Oregon uniform and the time that we have seen of him was in the form of what amounts to be a glorified practice.  A player that was a late bloomer and overlooked by many coming out of high school had been courted by many major college football powerhouses along with Oregon, including, but not limited to, the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Prukop chose Oregon over the national title favorites because of his fit within the offense and the success of quarterbacks, including Vernon Adams, in the offense.  If the offenses is as good of a fit for Dakota Prukop as both Prukop and the Oregon coaching staff believe then buckle your seat belt because things could get wild.