Photo by Andrew Giesemann
Oregon Football

Spring Preview: Quarterbacks

February 26, 2019

There are a number of positions Mario Cristobal will have work figuring out this Spring. One of which is not quarterback.

Although there is work to be done there following Lord Herbert of Autzen.

The Ducks welcome back Tyler Shough from his redshirt season and bring in Cale Millen as part of the 2019 class. Millen is already on campus and participating with Winter workouts. 

Oregon is down one returner however with Braxton Burmeister opting to transfer and headed to Virginia Tech. 

So here is our preview of the quarterbacks which lacks much drama and has few questions which is really, not a bad thing.

The Starter: Justin Herbert

Without question this is his job. There is no question about that. The only real question is how much help he’ll have at receiver this season which will be a far more interesting group to cover. But we have plenty of time for that.

This is Herbert’s chance to polish the few items he needs to work on. His deep ball could use a little more touch at times. Although is much improved from a year ago. His decision making will need some refinement. He does have a tendency to lock onto a single receiver but I wonder how much of that was what we’ll call ‘the drop effect.’

His final season at Oregon should be seen as a debut for the NFL. All eyes will be on Justin Herbert this season with NFL teams in need of a quarterback jockying for position for the golden arm from Eugene.

The BackUp: Tyler Shough

As good as I do believe Cale Millen can end up being, I don’t envision him getting there by September. At this point your goal with Millen is just to develop him and give him time to grow. Tyler Shough has an entire year head start on him, and even though he got minimal game time last season, he spent a whole year already in the program. Getting bigger, stronger, faster and learning the playbook.

This is a good thing. I am a fan of competition but there is a reason Braxton Burmeister didn’t stick around. Shough has grown and seemingly gained confidence along the way. In no world is he ready to supplant Justin Herbert, which is no slight to Shough. 

This is a HUGE year for Shough and his developement. His confidence. His knowledge of the offense.

Regardless of who Oregon might sign in 2020 (DJ U) at the moment Shough is the future. As is Millen. Herbert won’t be around forever so your biggest job if your Marcus Arroyo and Mario Cristobal is getting ready for that next phase.

The Prodigy: Cale Millen

I actually like Millen a lot. But most of that is based off potential. We’ve heard Mario Cristobal talk about football being a developmental sport and at quarterback that is very true. 

Millen is just a puppy still growing into his feet. I would expect very few on this roster will likely develop this year as much as Millen. He’s going to grow mentally and physically this season.

Signing a quarterback in 2020 will keep the depth levels close to where they need to be for the future. And sure DJ U would be nice. But I do think there is reason to be optimistic about the growth of Cale Millen for the future.

Tags: Football, Oregon
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