Mahalak discusses fast start to the season

Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic quarterback Morgan Mahalak discusses his first three games of the season and Oregon's fast start.

Marin Catholic quarterback Morgan Mahalak, one of Oregon's earliest verbal commits, has been growing into his roll as a first year starter for the program.

Through three games, Mahalak has helped lead the Wildcats to a 3-0 record. In last Friday's 42-6 win over Heritage, he threw for 269 yards and three first half touchdowns on 15-of-27 passing.

"The first couple of games we got off to a slow start," Mahalak said. "But, we're progressing a lot each and every day and I think that's reflected in our play the last couple of weeks. We really picked it up last game."

Part of taking over behind center has been getting comfortable as a leader and building chemistry with his offense. So far, it's been a smooth transition from Mahalak's point of view and he believes the sky is the limit for them.

"I think the big thing for us, just as an offense as a whole, was getting synced in together and getting on the same page," Mahalak said. "I feel extremely comfortable out there. No nerves. I'm just going out there and doing my thing, but it's been a lot of fun and I'm enjoying it thus far."

The senior drew buzz in the offseason with his verbal commitment to Oregon and his selection as an Elite 11 finalist despite never starting a game. After a whirlwind offseason, Mahalak believes he's improved in several key areas.

"I'm a little crisper with my throwing," Mahalak said. "Routes, and things like that I've gotten a little bit better at and just the timing with the receivers. But the biggest thing with me, which is just huge, is decision making. I've made a bunch of good decisions in not forcing balls and just making smart plays, whether it be running and getting out of bounds or keeping the play alive."

Of course, Mahalak has been keeping tabs on Oregon's progress so far this season. He's kept in contact with offensive coordinator Scott Frost and head coach Mark Helfrich through weekly phone calls and although he expected Oregon to be successful early on, the rate at which they're reaching that success has him even more anxious to get to Eugene.

"The amount of success they've had, I think everybody saw that coming," Mahalak said. "But the level they're doing it at is amazing. Coach Helfich has done such an amazing job with them in his first couple of games. There's no drop off. They look better than they did last year to me."

While Mahalak's playing style has drawn comparisons to current Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, he also cited his old teammate and Cal freshman Jared Goff as an influence on his game. However, Mahalak was quick to say that he sees himself more as a spread option quarterback than one running a high powered passing attack.

"I think, for me, I'm a little more suited to do what Marcus is doing," Mahalak said. "Not to say Jared's not athletic, but I'm a little bit of a better runner I'd say. I like to run the ball a lot and I'm working on my speed every day trying to get to Marcus' level."

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