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Oregon Ducks QB Coach David Yost Talks Mike Leach, Quarterback Situation in ESPN Interview

"You can never finish getting better as a quarterback."


David Yost is in his first year as quarterbacks coach for the Oregon Ducks, and the man with the hair will also be coaching a new starter at the position.

In an interview with ESPN, Yost talks about his time coaching under Mike Leach at Washington State and the battle between Travis Jonsen and Dakota Prukop for the top job.

Yost says it's different coming into a situation with a new starter than it would be with an established quarterback like Marcus Mariota. Even though Prukop is a senior, he's still new to the program so there's a sort of freshman feel to everything.

Yost was a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator during a 12-year stay at Missouri, but coached receivers during his most recent gig at Wazzu. He says coaching receivers is a totally different game from coaching quarterbacks, as the two position groups focus on different information and different aspects of the offense.

Leach, of course, is one of college football's most interesting coaches, and Yost says he learned a lot from the eccentric leader.

DY: I'd get done with my inside receiver meetings and I'd go up and I'd sit in his quarterback meetings just to hear how he talked to the quarterbacks, how he explained things, how he saw things. It's a different approach and there are a lot of different ways to coach quarterbacks and little things. How he did things were different than how I had before, I've tried to take some of that and add it in.

Such as?

DY: Probably just being around Leach has affected it a little bit on how I look at the position and try not to overcomplicate it. He is so much about simplicity and keeping it simple as possible for them, which is a fact -- the less they're thinking, the better they play. But, they also need to have enough information to be successful so it's that fine line of you don't want to overdo it but you don't want them to feel underprepared. You've got to find that happy medium so they can be comfortable to be successful, but it's not cumbersome to them so when we're getting ready to snap the football they're not thinking about 20 things.

The last question is probably the most important: what will it take for either Jonsen or Prukop to win the starting job?

Jonsen is ahead in some areas simply by virtue of spending more time in the program, while Prukop is still going through signal practice.

You can never finish getting better as a quarterback, getting better footwork. ... Dakota needs to constantly go through signal practice because it has to become second nature. We have to speed up the process. He did a good job in January when he got here to learn it so he was able to compete right away in spring ball, but now he needs to take it even farther so that when we start two-a-days he's at Travis' level. ... One of Travis' big things is being able to think outside of the simple play, which I think is for any young quarterback. ... And for Terry [Wilson], it was a matter of how we ended spring, the next step has to be a forward step. We can't go into two-a-days and go back to practice 11 of spring, because then we've wasted four days of spring and a whole summer.

No matter who wins the starting job, there will be a lot of new at the quarterback position for the Ducks this season.