Darren Carrington was asked about how returning starter Justin Herbert was doing, and Carrington felt that Herbert is the man to beat and has the advantage of having started seven games last season, but then he surprised the assembled group of reporters by saying that Travis Jonsen was Herbert's principal competition.
Jonsen somehow was lost in the shuffle last year under Mark Helfrich's coaching staff. Jonsen had been in a heated battle with Dakota Prukop during last year's spring game, but then suddenly dropped off the radar screen in fall camp. The Duck coaching staff never gave any indication of what happened to Jonsen but focused on the Herbert, who had come to Oregon from nearby Sheldon High School in Eugene and made an instant impression. That favorable impression was duly warranted because of the remarkable performances Herbert put in including throwing a game winning touchdown in the closing moments in a road game against Utah.
Still though, Jonsen had disappeared from attention and in several road games, didn't make the travel squad. There was no indication that he was injured, though Oregon's policy at the time was to not discuss injuries, and for his part, Jonsen had simply said he hadn't done enough in fall camp to prove to the coaches that he deserved to start.
Jonsen made no excuses.
Carrington was also asked today what were some of the improvements Jonsen had made, and according to Carrington, Jonsen has grown as a leader and "taken responsibility" for his development.
This is an interesting development as the Ducks coaching staff are using competition to bring out the very best in the athletes.
Tomorrow, practice will be held at Jesuit High School on the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in Portland. The practice will be 2:30 p.m. Gates will open at 1:30 p.m.