Marcus Mariota Named Lead Duck: Bryan Bennett Staying At Oregon, According To Report

Friday, Chip Kelly announced Marcus Mariota will enter 2012 as the starting quarterback for the highly ranked Ducks.

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Bryan Bennett Staying At Oregon, According To Report

Adam Jude of The Oregonian is reporting Oregon quarterback Bryan Bennett will not be leaving the program, despite losing the starting job to redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota.

Bennett reportedly discussed his future in the program with Oregon coach Chip Kelly after practice Tuesday. Bennett, an athletic 6'3, 200-pounder, threw for 369 yards and six touchdowns last season along with gaining 200 yards on the ground, backing up Darron Thomas in a reserve role for the Ducks.

After Mariota was announced as the starter, former Ducks running back LaMichael James tweeted that Mariota "will possibly be the best qb to ever play at Oregon! He's the real deal."

The Hawaiian signal-caller is now tasked with guiding the complicated Ducks offense, a big reason why Oregon is ranked No. 5 in the country despite not having settled on a quarterback at the time polls were released.

Thomas surprisingly left Oregon and declared for the NFL Draft, but he went undrafted and is currently a free agent.

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Bryan Bennett Considering Transfer From Oregon, According To Report

Oregon Ducks redshirt sophomore quarterback Bryan Bennett is considering a transfer after redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota was named the team's starting signal-caller by head coach Chip Kelly on Friday.

According to Rob Moseley of The Register Guard, Bennett might not have practiced with with team on Tuesday and was instead going to meet with Kelly about his future.

Mariota outshone the more experienced Bennett in the Ducks' spring game, completing 18-of-26 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 99 yards and scored twice on the ground, highlighted by an 82-yard scoring run. Bennett finished 19-of-32 for 209 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Bennett, a sophomore from Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, Calif., played in eight games in 2011, throwing for six touchdowns with zero interceptions while finishing the season sixth on the team in rushing yards with 200 on 23 carries. His 8.6 yards per carry was the top mark in a deep Ducks backfield.

Mariota will be the Ducks' first freshman starter since Danny O'Neill in 1991.

For more on Oregon Ducks football, follow Addicted To Quack. For more news and notes from around NCAA football, head over to SB Nation's college football hub.

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Marcus Mariota, Oregon Starter: How Do We Feel About This?

For the first time since 1991, the Oregon Ducks will start a freshman at quarterback with coach Chip Kelly's Friday announcement that Marcus Mariota will lead the defending Pac-12 champions this season.

Mariota, a redshirt from Hawaii, beat out last season's fill-in for Darron Thomas, Bryan Bennett, thanks in part to an impressive spring game.

While there's no doubting Mariota's explosiveness, there could still be some growing pains along the way as the 6'4, 196-pound signal-caller learns on the go. Still, it seems from most individuals' reactions that the Ducks fan base is on board, or at least should be, with Kelly's decision. Here's some of the highlights from Josh Schlichter's story on the decision from Pacific Takes:

"Mariota, in many circles close to the team, is regarded as the future of Chip Kelly's offense, and a perfect player to lead the Ducks out of the post James-Thomas era. Mariota has already showcased an advanced understanding of Oregon's passing tree and running game, and possesses the physical ability to surpass Darron Thomas's success through the air and on the ground... Duck fans can rest assured that their offense is in good hands for the next 3-4 years."

Doesn't sound too shabby, right?

For more fan reactions, head on over to Addicted To Quack or Pacific Takes.

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Marcus Mariota Named Oregon Starter, According To Report

Oregon coach Chip Kelly has yet to officially announce the starter for his No. 4 Ducks, but redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota has beaten out sophomore Bryan Bennett for the job, reports the Oregonian's Aaron Fentress. Thursday's scrimmage made for the final showdown between the two, Fentress reports.

The two began scrapping for the job almost as soon as the 2011 season had concluded, with incumbent starter Darron Thomas declaring for the NFL Draft out of nowhere.


Your two-minute 2012 Oregon football preview.

Mariota won over the fan base with an excellent performance in the spring game, and evidently backed it up with solid work in fall camp. Bennett is the more experienced of the two (obviously), having relieved Thomas in 2011 and performed very well in doing so.

Oregon opens its season against Arkansas State next week, meaning we'll probably get to see a whole lot of Mariota early on, as both teams will run fast-paced offenses. A big Ducks lead could mean a good bit of action for Bennett as well, however.

For more on Ducks football, visit Oregon blog Addicted To Quack, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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2012 Oregon Football Preview: A Ruling Class Résumé

Keep putting an incredibly strong product, and one of these years you might take home the crystal football. Chip Kelly's 2012 Oregon squad has a few question marks (especially in terms of depth) and has to visit USC, but a well-timed hot streak could take the Ducks to their second national title game in three years.

Related: Oregon's complete 2012 statistical profile, including projected starters, year-to-year trends and rankings galore.

For more on Ducks football, visit Oregon blog Addicted To Quack, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes.

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