They say patience is a virtue. For Jeff Lockie, patience has become commonplace and he’s taking it in stride.
Last Friday, the coaching staff at Oregon named fresh-out-of-math-class senior-transfer Vernon Adams Jr. the starting quarterback heading into the team’s home-opener against Eastern Washington on Saturday.
Despite being there for only two weeks, Adams secured the starting gig over a player in Lockie who had been Marcus Mariota’s backup for the past two seasons and had all but paid his dues to be Mariota’s successor.
But when a program brings in a three-year starter from EWU with amazing athletic ability, the idea of it being a “competition” is just a diplomatic way of presenting the situation as transparent. Adams was always going to be the guy thus putting Lockie right back where he’s always been. For many potential starting quarterbacks at a major program, that might create some tension. But Lockie is handling the situation about as well as can be; at least in front of the cameras.
“Everyone wants to be the guy, but I think we all know in life some things don’t go your way,” Lockie told The Register-Guard. “I think the only response is to have your head up and keep going. I think there’s a lot bigger things going on here than myself.”
Lockie has a future in politics with a quote like that.
It’s not like he’s blown our skirts up with his play. He’s barely seen the field backing up the greatest player in Oregon’s history. In two seasons, Lockie has completed 29-of-41 passes with one touchdown and one interception in late-game blowouts when we’ve all changed the channel by then.
Adams is the sexy known commodity with a big arm, explosiveness and that rare ability to perform at a high level in the clutch. Those are all traits Oregon fans have become accustomed to seeing with Mariota so the fit makes more sense.
Despite returning to his duties of holding clipboards and play boards, Lockie is focused on helping the team and Adams in any way he can.
“You just kind of switch gears, switch the mentality and you’re back preparing for Saturday. … If that means helping Vernon out with the game plan, if that means helping the receivers out, whatever it means,” said Lockie. “It’s just the next step forward, you kind of switch your mindset and keep going.”
Lockie will have one more year to land the starting job since Adams is a senior. But he would be the first to tell you that nothing is given. You have to earn it. Perhaps next season he will finally have that opportunity.