Oregon Ducks

Five Ducks' spring game storylines: No. 1 - QB Travis Jonsen

Oregon's spring game kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday.  Here is the start of five reasons why you should care. 

No. 1: This is quarterback Travis Jonsen's chance to show what he's really about. 

Oregon coach Willie Taggart has insisted that a quarterback competition exists. 

Redshirt sophomore Travis Jonsen insists he is a different player than the one who fell from No. 2 to No. 4 last fall. 

If both opinions are true, let's see some fireworks on Saturday, Mr. Jonsen. 

In all fairness, this is about the time when he should be coming into his own. Seeking instant success often leads to unnecessary disappointment for players such as Jonsen, who went to Oregon in 2015 as the No. 3-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation.

Jonsen, who will start Saturday at quarterback for Team "Brave," redshirted in 2015 and didn't play at all last year. No shame in any of that.

Now, finishing up his third spring at Oregon with two falls behind him, Jonsen is older, wiser and more mature. He also remains quite talented. 

The problem for Jonsen is that while he was maturing, the Ducks seemingly landed another quarterback savant just two seasons after watching Marcus Mariota, the greatest player in program history, ride off into the sunset with a Heisman Trophy. Sophomore Justin Herbert rose from unheralded recruit to starter last year as a true freshman and then passed for 19 touchdowns with just four interceptions over seven starts. 

Herbert is a big obstacle between Jonsen and becoming Oregon's starter. So much so that Terry Wilson Jr., last year's No. 3 quarterback as a true freshman, decided to transfer this spring. 

Jonsen is in a very awkward position. He could end up becoming a really good quarterback but never become UO's starter unless Herbert goes to the NFL after his junior season leaving Jonsen as the starter in 2020 as a redshirt senior.

Or, Jonsen must beat out Herbert now and take over the offense.

That scenario remains a possibility, according to Taggart, who ultimately has the only opinion that matters. 

But for public consumption, it would be nice to see Jonsen on Saturday play like a quarterback capable of pushing Herbert.

On a side note, we will also get to see freshman Braxton Burmeister in action. The 2017 4-star recruit who enrolled early, is the backup to Jonsen on Team "Brave," and will surely see some action. 

Herbert is quarterbacking Team Fire.