Oregon coach looking for improvement from QB Bo Nix, who’s starting in home opener

Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix throws a pass against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix throws a pass against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

As far as first impressions go, Bo Nix would probably like a do-over.

That’s not possible, obviously, but the Oregon quarterback will get another chance to win over the home fans Saturday night when the Ducks host Eastern Washington at Autzen Stadium.

Nix, who transferred to Oregon after starting three seasons for Auburn, beat out redshirt freshman Ty Thompson for the starting job and made his Oregon debut against Georgia when he completed 21-of-37 passes for 173 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns in the Ducks’ 49-3 loss.

He’ll start again Saturday, and he will do so with the continued support of his coach and teammates.

“Right now Bo’s our quarterback, so we’re going to ride behind him 25,000% or whatever you want to call it,” running back Sean Dollars said Tuesday. “I’m sticking behind him. I think it’s a long season … and for us to come together and get the wins that we’re supposed to.

“We’re supposed to support one another, block out the outside noise and that’s exactly what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna do all our work here in the facility, take it out to the field and make it come together on Saturday.”

Nix, a 6-foot-3, 214-pound former five-star recruit, threw for 7,251 yards, 39 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 34 games at Auburn.

His new teammates raved throughout the offseason and fall camp about his natural leadership skills and maturity.

But for Oregon to have a successful season, Nix has some things to clean up on the field, coach Dan Lanning said.

“Not turning the ball over, obviously, that’s a big piece,” Lanning said. “That’s where it starts.”

In a 46-point loss, it’s hard to single out any one moment as the turning point, but Nix’s interceptions on the Ducks’ second and third drives of the game were crushing blows that immediately helped the Bulldogs build a 21-0 lead.

The first pick was a slightly under-thrown deep ball as well as a great catch by the Georgia defender. The second pick was just a bad decision by Nix, who threw to a covered receiver when other options were available.

“Operate within the framework of the offense,” Lanning said. “You don’t have to create new plays that aren’t there for you to make. You just have to take the ones that are sitting in front of you. When he did that, you know, we were effective at times on offense. When you operate outside of the system, it’s going to be a struggle at times.”

Nix wasn’t made available to the media this week but after the Georgia game he said, “Got a lot of football left to play, so we’re just going to look forward to that and get better. Go back tomorrow and work and see what happens.”

The offense as a whole didn’t look sharp against Georgia, as Oregon only gained 313 yards and were kept out of the end zone.

It was a performance that had a portion of the Ducks’ fanbase clamoring to get a look at Thompson, a highly touted 2021 recruit who is still waiting for a chance to play.

Ideally, that comes Saturday against the Eastern Washington Eagles — part of the Football Championship Subdivision — a game in which the Ducks, in theory, should be able to build a big enough lead to remove their starters.

Asked on Wednesday if he was hoping to see Thompson play Saturday, Lanning was tactful with his answer.

“What I’m worried about right now is playing the game,” he said.

“The only thing I’m worried about is winning the game. I want every one of our players to get an opportunity to go out there and perform. But it starts with us just going to play the game. I’m not worried about which guy gets in, but what gives Oregon the best opportunity to win.”

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Follow Chris Hansen on Twitter @chansen_RG or email at [email protected].

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Oregon vs. Eastern Washington

5:30 p.m. Saturday at Autzen Stadium. TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: KUJZ-FM (95.3), KUGN-AM (590), Sirius (133), XM (197)

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: oregonducks-quarterback-bo-nix-has-support-needs-to-improve-lanning-georgia-eastern-washington/65827448007/” data-ylk=”slk:Oregon quarterback Bo Nix has support, but also needs to improve” class=”link “>Oregon quarterback Bo Nix has support, but also needs to improve

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