Oregon fans got their first glimpse at the future Saturday against Stony Brook as starting quarterback Anthony Brown remained in the locker room, paving the way for 5-star true freshman Ty Thompson to make his college debut.
Thompson finished his one half of action completing six of nine passes for 82 yards (9.1 yards-per-attempt) and two touchdowns. He led three touchdown drives, one field-goal drive, and two drives which resulted in a punt.
In short, Ducks fans got to see what the coaching staff saw during fall camp, which led to Thompson winning the backup job.
"He's incredibly talented," said Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead. "We had a pretty good idea of that throughout the recruitment process. All of the five stars were earned. He had a very impressive resume as a high school quarterback."
When Thompson was told he was going to replace Brown to begin the second half, he responded how Moorhead had hoped.
"He's a particularly cool customer and confidence is bred through talent and preparation, so there wasn't any wide eyes when he was told he was entering the game," added Moorhead.
"He was very poised; cool, calm and collected. He was 6-of-9, threw two touchdowns, operated the offense very well so I was excited to see him get an opportunity and perform."
Thompson's performance was consistent with his play and demeanor since arriving in Eugene as one of the headliners in Oregon's 2021 recruiting class.
"The thing that strikes me about Ty was his commitment to preparation and the mental aspect of it. I think his maturity and his poise, I think those are all things that stand out, that you really don't see in a lot of true freshmen at any position," said Moorhead. "He came in here mid-year, committed to learn what we were doing, understand the why's and how's and I think he brings a very even-keeled, but yet competitive demeanor to the offense."
Thompson did not finish the game, however. Fellow freshman Jay Butterfield also saw the field for the first time in his two years on campus, leading a touchdown drive of his own. During the 10-play, 65-yard sequence, Butterfield completed both pass attempts.
"Then Jay got in and led a touchdown drive. Operated the offense so it was good to see two and three go in there and have the offense continue to produce," said Moorhead.
By all accounts, both Butterfield and Thompson played well during spring and fall camp but in the end, the 5-star prospect won out, for now.
"From a decision making during fall camp both guys did a very very nice job, Ty just did the things that we were looking for a little bit better and obviously, that competition will continue as it does at every other position," explained Moorhead.
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Despite being named QB3, Butterfield still prepares as if his number will be called upon because he's just two injuries away.
"Those guys all prepare as if they are one or two plays away and when they enter the game there's a standard of performance that's expected of them," said Moorhead.
Head Coach Mario Cristobal echoed Moorhead's praise for the two freshmen
"What sticks out first and foremost was the elimination of any errors, mental and physical. Very cool when they went in there," said Cristobal.
"Unfazed, just like practice. With the adversity that we present these guys in practice and the pace at which we practice really paid off because they went in there and they looked at home. A lot of confidence in both those guys. Those are two really good football players with bright futures."
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