EUGENE - Advantage, Dakota Prukop.
As if any mystery surrounding Oregon's quarterback competition truly existed to begin with, it appears that Prukop, a senior transfer from Montana State, officially separted himself from redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen following a team scrimmage on Tuesday.
"Dakota has been the most consistent,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “And then kind of everybody else has had their moments.”
That advantage allowed Prukop to have a solid scrimmage on Tuesday.
Prukop, after admitting to having in the past faked a smile in front of cameras following performing poorly in a scrimmage, appeared pleased with his showing on Tuesday.
“I’m happy with today," he said. "There’s a couple of things I could improve on for sure.”
UO quarterbacks coach David Yost said last week that he was looking for that “it” factor in his starting quarterback. His criteria includes someone who takes charge, leads the team well and produces points.
Prukop, according to Yost, has certainly become that type of leader.
“Dakota has really taken on the leadership thing, and is kind of trying to take charge of the team, kind of challenge the team and get them moving, and everything, which is really positive,” Yost said.
Jonsen didn't disagree. He said Prukop has played very well during camp, and did so again on Tuesday. Jonsen said all he can do is continue to grow as a player.
“I won’t get discouraged,” Jonsen said. “Dakota had a great day. Obviously I was inconsistent. I think what really matters is how I’m going to bounce back.”
Jonsen, rated by Rivals.com as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the nation coming out of high school in 2014, has the physical tools to become Oregon's starting quarterback at some point. It simply might be too early for Jonsen to seize that opportunity at this juncture in his young career.
“Travis, he has a good understanding of the offense now it’s just getting reps over and over again,” Yost said. “They are kind of at two different points of the learning curve.”
Meanwhile, Prukop has leaned on his experience to allow his talents to flourish.
“Dakota, with the experience he has, has worked hard to use that to his advantage to grow as a QB within the system," Yost said.
Helfrich said last week that he hoped to name a starter 10 days before the first game on Sept. 3. That would mean doing so on Aug. 24. On Tuesday, Helfrich said he wasn't ready to stand by that declaration, but clearly the team is leaning in Prukop's direction.