Vernon Adams and Oregon grow together despite loss

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If you get to thinking about it, four weeks isn’t much time to really get to know someone.

About five minutes into a first date, if you’re a guy, you know if #2 has a chance of happening on your end, but when you get down to the brass tacks of it … a job, spouse, friend … four weeks isn’t much time at all.

Four weeks is all Vernon Adams really had to convince his Oregon teammates that he could lead them to wherever they desired to go. It’s the football equivalent of hitchhiking, and Oregon needs a ride. The van pulls up, and Adams is driving, so they get in.

The Ducks lost Saturday night, and Adams was anything but magical, but it sure seems as though he tried to put a dent in their growing relationship while he was doing it.

Vernon had two gloves on, which — for a football player — normally means it’s either really damn cold or something’s hurt. Even though it was a finger on his throwing hand, which lacks the gore of playing with a torn ACL or other more serious injuries, Adams was in clear pain.

His stats were nothing amazing, particularly the 6 yards rushing and 22 for 39 with more picks (2) than touchdowns (1).

Every shot of him on the sidelines saw him fidgeting with his glove and wincing at times. Yeah, it lacks the sex appeal of blood running down his face or whatnot, but it’s important to note that Adams made probably his best throws after clearly laboring, including a deep post route that led to a late touchdown. That last score gave the Ducks a fighting chance and extended their record to 70 straight games with a touchdown pass.

Adams, though, was spectacularly bad on the last drive. The heart and mind were willing, but the body wasn’t. Just needing to toss the ball away to make fourth down reasonable, he took a sack that made it 4th and 16. Under duress all night, you’d have thought that Adams would have tossed the ball away once he saw Spartans busting down the door in the backfield.

That failure to avoid a sack occurred one play after Adams missed Byron Marshall, who broke wide stinking open on a play that would have ripped the heart out of Michigan State when he got past a stumbling defender for what would have been a sure touchdown.

On the final and deciding play, Adams rolled out and underthrew his intended receiver near the sideline, on what actually could have been a reasonable conversion. Game over. Michigan State wins.


Adams walked to the sidelines all game like a scene out of “Independence Day,” in which the aliens were flying their ship over his city. He’s not used to losing, and certainly not used to losing because the offense is shoddy all game long.

Still, Oregon has to feel like some headway was made in this relationship with its new arrival at quarterbck. It’s hard enough getting to know the plays. Jim Jones didn’t have a legion of people following him wherever he went after four weeks, I can bet you that.

The Ducks will need to be perfect from here on out, and a lot of that will be strapping their boots up and carrying on after a disappointing loss, again, in the regular season. The Pac-12 awaits.

They’re in the van with Adams, and he’s a willing driver, wherever the gravel road may go.