EUGENE - Jeff Lockie once again is being bypassed.
And once again he is handling it with great class.
Oregon's fifth-year senior quarterback for the second time in nine months has been presented with a graduate transfer to beat him out for the starting job.
It would be enough to cause many to transfer, or even quit. But not Lockie. Instead, he's embracing the challenge while also once again sharing his vast knowledge of the offense with those working to take his job. The value of his team-first attitude shouldn't be overlooked.
"At this point I feel like I've been through the ringer," Lockie said. "I've been a part of a quarterback class with two guys, I've seen a quarterback competition happen in front of me, I've seen guys transfer, I've seen a guy win a Heisman, I've seen a guy come in, I've seen a national championship loss, I've seen a Rose Bowl, I've seen an Alamo win and an Alamo Bowl loss, I feel like I've kind of been through the gauntlet and there's nothing now that can phase me."
Let's review the trek Lockie speaks of:
- Lockie comes to Oregon in 2012 as a three-star quarterback along with four-star quarterback recruit, Jake Rodrigues.
- In the fall of 2012, Marcus Mariota and Bryan Bennett compete for the starting job with Mariota winning out. Bennett transfers following the 2012 season.
- Lockie and Rodrigues compete for a full year to be Mariota's backup with Lockie winning the job outright in the spring of 2014. That leads to Rodrigues transferring.
- Lockie backs up Mariota while he wins the 2014 Heisman and leads the Ducks to a playoff win in the Rose Bowl and a loss in the national title game.
- Mariota turns professional causing the Ducks to bring in graduate senior transfer Vernon Adams Jr. from Eastern Washington. He arrives late for camp but still beats out Lockie for the starting job.
- Lockie receives playing time during the season after Adams is injured but fails to produce. Lockie also takes over for an injured Adams in the Alamo Bowl with the Ducks leading 31-0 at halftime. Oregon lost 47-41 in triple overtime.
- Lockie's struggles during the season causes Oregon to seek another graduate transfer to compete for the starting job in 2016. Enter Dakota Prukop.
What could easily have been included in that rundown is "Lockie transfers." But he hasn't. He's remained at Oregon as a graduate student ready to compete once again.
Nothing is etched in stone on Oregon's depth chart, but the hammer and chisel are out with the pending name to be engraved belonging to Prukop, a transfer from Montana State. Lockie said he feels more comfortable this time around dealing with another hired gun.
Performing well during practices might not help Lockie win the job. He's always done well in practice. His problems have come during games. Prukop comes to Oregon with 7,347 total yards and 70 total touchdowns on his resume. Lockie last season completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 580 yards and five touchdowns with four interceptions. His passer rating was 119.4 compared to 179.1 for Adams.
What Prukop lacks is knowledge of Oregon's offense, something Lockie has in spades, having learned from former head coach Chip Kelly, current heard coach Mark Helfrich and former offensive coordinator Scott Frost.
Lockie's knowledge is so vast that at times he has been helping new quarterbacks coach David Yost learn the offense.
"He's very bright and he's been a great resource for me," Yost said.
There have been occurrences in meetings when Yost has leaned on Lockie's expertise.
"So when we run through a play he kind of always takes five, 10, 15 seconds to give any information that he has from when he's run those plays before in practice, or in games," Yost said.
Lockie said he doesn't overstep his bounds but wants to help when needed.
"I always say, 'if you want my advice, you've got to ask because I'm not going to be the one leading this meeting and try to pretend like I'm your boss,'" Lockie said.
Lockie's assistance also extends to the other quarterbacks on the roster.
'It's a good group and they work together but they know there's going to be competition," Yost said.
In other words, Lockie is helping his rivals. He did the same for Adams, who constantly praised Lockie for helping him grow within the offense and see things on game day.
Now Lockie will likely end up doing the same for Prukop.
It's a tough situation that many with less character wouldn't handle quite as well. On one hand, Lockie's mediocre play on the field led to the recruitment of Prukop. On the other hand, it shouldn't be Lockie's job to help facilitate his own removal as potential starter.
Still, there he is, doing what he can to help Prukop, knowing that in then end it could help the team win.
"Competition is always here," Lockie said. "Everybody is going to be competing all the time. I think it's kind of focusing on doing the best you can and seeing how it kind of ends up."