The spring game, will always be one of his fondest memories, he said, and proved his own capabilities to himself.
"I feel like, especially that spring, it proved that I could do it," he said. "You can go out there and do all this stuff during practice, but to go out there and when there's a whole bunch of people out there, that's a whole different story. To be able to go out there during the spring game and do it gave me the confidence in the fall."
Now a year removed from the experience, as well as a season of starting quarterbacking behind him, Mariota must work this spring to get better.
What's his biggest obstacle in accomplishing that?
"I think trying not to get complacent," he said. "During the spring you're not going into a game against an opponent. That's probably the biggest differece for me is just making sure that I have the mentality of getting better and winning the day."
When De'Anthony Thomas is not with his teammates participating in spring drills, he finds himself with his other team on the track, where he runs sprints for the Oregon Track and Field team. Thomas has found common-ground between the two sports.
"It's just about putting the time in, the work in and having fun," he said. "Track is about fundamentals, just like football. Football is more about decision-making."
Mariota has a lot respect for Thomas and fellow two-sport athletes: Arik Armstead (basketball), Dior Mathis (track), B.J. Kelley (track) and Oshay Dunmore (track). "To be able to do both sports and excel at it, it shows what kind of athletes they are," he said. "They're having a lot of fun with it. I know De'Anthony loves to run the 100. I'm always excited to go and watch him."
Mariota ran track in high school, while also competing in basketball and soccer outside of football. But despite his athletic ability, he could not envision competing in multiple collegiate spots.
"Football's hard enough. I can't imagine two sports."