THIBODAUX — Oregon quarterback Jeff Lockie didn’t have media members swarming around him like his predecessor did last year during Friday’s media session at the Manning Passing Academy.
Marcus Mariota, the Ducks’ Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, is now in the NFL playing for the Tennessee Titans, leaving giant footsteps for Lockie to follow.
“Obviously there are a lot of expectations because of how he has played,” Lockie said. “Like I always tell people, we are two different people and two different quarterbacks. We have different strengths and different weaknesses. It’s going to be a new team, just like it is every year.
“We just happen to be replacing the guy that set some records.”
Mariota set plenty.
He holds the Pac-12 records for career total touchdowns (135), single-season total offense (5,224 yards in 2014) and single-season total touchdowns (58), among others. Last season, he led the team to the College Football Playoff championship game, in which it lost to Ohio State.
“I learned so much from him, just living with him and being around him,” Lockie said.
“The biggest thing is just how to handle success,” Lockie said. He has had so much success for a guy who is 20, 21 years old, and the way he handled it and treated people is something that I definitely took from him.”
Lockie, a redshirt junior, completed 21 of 28 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown in spot duty last season.
“I want to do the best I can and get this team to where we have never been before,” he said.
Speaking of Heisman
Of the 34 players listed on Bovada’s Vegas odds to win the Heisman Trophy on Thursday, seven were participating in the Manning Passing Academy.
TCU’s Trevone Boykin, the favorite to win the Heisman, led the way.
He was joined by Southern California’s Cody Kessler (No. 6); Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott (7); Cal’s Jared Goff (24); Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph (26); North Carolina State’s Jacoby Brissett (29); and North Carolina’s Marquise Williams (31).
Voice of change
Eli Manning played at Ole Miss shortly after the Rebels banned the Confederate flag from the stands at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and right in the middle of the controversy surrounding the university’s decision to remove Colonel Reb as its official mascot.
And in the wake of South Carolina lowering the Confederate battle flag from outside its state house, Manning supports the move.
“The flag, it’s a symbol that has a lot of negative meaning to a lot of people,” Manning said. “If it’s hurtful to people’s feelings, then get rid of it.”
Still going strong
Drew Brees dropped from sixth to No. 30 in the player-voted NFL’s Greatest Player rankings for 2015.
To which ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says, “So what?”
“What are rankings, and who’s making them?” Mortensen said Friday. “It’s a media gimmick to get eyes on a story.
“When you talk about the greatest quarterbacks in this league, you have to include Drew Brees.
“Maybe not in any certain order. But I don’t see Drew slipping at all.”
They said it
While preparing for life after football might be sound thinking for NFL players, if you’re a teammate of Peyton Manning, you’d better be doing it on your own time.
“You’ve got to be all in on your current job,” he said. “I used to hear guys in the locker room talking about what business they were going to get into when they were finished and so forth.
“I’d tell them, ‘Look, you’re not doing your current job all that well. I’d like for you to block a little better, and you dropped five balls last week. So maybe you should hone in on this job a little bit and save that real estate deal for a later time.’”