Thomas faces new role

Things are a lot different for reserve quarterback Darron Thomas this week at practice. In the proceeding weeks during fall camp and the start of the season, things were fairly simple. Go watch film, go to practice and be prepared to play. Now, he does those same things, plus entertain media questions. That's because last week when the Ducks needed a shot in the arm, Thomas provided it.

When things looked the bleakest for Oregon last week against Boise State, Darron Thomas came in and provided a bright spark. Entering the game in the fourth quarter, Thomas threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns in a valiant effort to pull the Ducks out of a nosedive. Even though Boise State won the game 37-32, Thomas' effort may be one of the most remembered things of this season.

By playing in last week's game, Thomas is now unable to use this year for a redshirt. The plan by the Oregon staff was to keep Thomas on the sideline for the 2008 season, but with injuries to Nate Costa, Justin Roper and then Jeremiah Masoli, the Ducks were forced to scrap that plan.

This week in practice Thomas is splitting practice snaps with Masoli and Chris Harper as Oregon prepares for the Washington State Cougars on Saturday at Martin Stadium in Pullman. Thomas, who enrolled at Oregon last winter term, is a quiet young man who is taking all this new-found attention in stride. When asked what will be different this week than last week in terms of his preparation, Thomas mentioned the balance of both running and passing the ball.

"Last week we worried about the blitz because at the end we had to throw the ball," said Thomas. "Now it is going to be more balanced, run and pass."

He, along with his teammates, are also working on ball security and reading coverage in order to cut down on potential interceptions.

Masoli, who was knocked out of last week's game, has been cleared to return to practice and was on the field participating yesterday. Masoli is feeling much better and is recovered from the vicious blow he took in the game. Oddly enough, the hit was about the only thing he remembers from last Saturday.

"That's the only thing (I remember) from the entire game, getting hit and getting right back up. Besides that, all these guys are making fun of me about how I don't remember anything."

Masoli may not remember much of what happened on Saturday but after watching game film of the BSU contest, Masoli has become one of Thomas' biggest fans.

"Darron Thomas came through for us in the fourth quarter," said Masoli of Thomas. "Even with that interception, if you go back and watch the film it was pass interference even before the other team touched the football. He's done some wonderful things."

Likely, Masoli will make his second start of the season, but it is also certain that Thomas will see time too. Harper has a number of special packages created to take advantage of various skills and he too will play quarterback against the Cougars.

Kickoff for the Saturday's game is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. The game will be carried live on FSN Northwest.

For Thomas' interview

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