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Ducks Coach Helfrich Wants Vocal Mariota In 2013

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Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will be counted on by new coach Mark Helfrich to be more of a vocal leader in 2013. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will be counted on by new coach Mark Helfrich to be more of a vocal leader in 2013. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

While new Oregon coach Mark Helfrich continues to answer questions of comparison between himself and former coach Chip Kelly, he did make one thing clear recently -- he's going to expect more out of starting quarterback Marcus Mariota.

A lot more.

Helfrich, described as calm and laid-back by many, certainly sees that kind of mentality in the Hawaiian-born Mariota. His cool demeanor and calmness under pressure in 2012 were evident from the moment he got under center, and served him well. Still, Mariota often played the role of the good or quiet teammate, deferring to others to lead. Helfrich is looking at his returning all-Pac-12 quarterback to up his leadership this season.

Upon taking the head job, Helrich told Mariota it was time to come out of his shell and demonstrate a higher level of confidence and vocal leadership. He also wants his uber-athlete quarterback to step up and make more plays, particularly with his legs, in 2013. Helfrich said Mariota needs to be more aggressive with his feet this year and create the big plays that his physical abilities demand. In short, it's time for Mariota to become the West Coast's "Johnny Football."

Spring Football Note: The Ducks are scheduled to start spring practice Tuesday, April 2, and conclude with the spring game Saturday, April 27. No word yet on whether it will be televised.