FootballScoop is proud to announce that Mark Helfrich (Oregon) is the 2012 FootballScoop Quarterbacks Coach of the Year presented by ProGrass.
How is it possible for Oregon to lose its Heisman Trophy finalist running back and replace a two-year starter at quarterback and get better on offense? A well-oiled machine of an offense certainly helps, but the play of quarterback Marcus Mariota was also a major factor.
“The role that Mark Helfrich played in the development of Marcus Mariota as a freshman certainly speaks for itself,” Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said. “He did an outstanding job of molding the talents of a very special young man into the framework of our offense and teaching Marcus how to maximize his understanding of the game. Yet Mark’s success is nothing new as I now have witnessed his ability to relay his expertise to student-athletes for the last four years.”
A redshirt freshman, Mariota played like a veteran from his very first snap. Mariota completed 57 percent of his passes in all 12 starts and completed more than 70 percent of his attempts in eight games. He threw just six interceptions and had only one game with multiple interceptions.
For the year, Mariota connected on 218-of-312 passes (69.9 percent) for 2,511 yards (8.05 yards per attempt) for 30 touchdowns and six picks. Mariota threw at least one touchdown in every game and had seven games with multiple scoring strikes. His 165.4 passer rating led the Pac-12, ranked sixth nationally and was first among all freshmen with more than 160 attempts.
Mariota's finest hour came at California. With the Ducks' running game sputtering and the defense suffering a rash of injuries, Mariota put the team on his back in completing 27-of-34 passes for 377 yards and a school-record six touchdowns. When Oregon held a slim (for them) 24-17 lead early in the third quarter, Mariota hit touchdown passes on four consecutive drives. He was pulled from the game in the fourth quarter with the Ducks leading 52-17.
Of course, being the quarterback at Oregon is also about what you accomplish on the ground. Mariota was Oregon's second-leading rusher with 98 carries for 690 yards (7.0 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. His rushing numbers picked up over the last half of the season as he rushed 55 times for 427 yards (7.8 yards per carry) and three scores.
A sensational season has brought in the first of many accolades for Mariota. Last week he became the first freshman quarterback to be named First Team All-Pac-12 since Todd Marinovich in 1989. Mariota won the honor by becoming the first freshman in league history to toss 30 touchdowns, was the first freshman in school history to eclipse the 300-yard passing mark four times, and is threatening to break the NCAA freshman passing efficiency record. A three touchdown performance in the Fiesta Bowl he will tie Oregon's single-season touchdown pass record, and he is currently on pace to break the school's single-season completion percentage record.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Helfrich, Tom Herman - Ohio State, Brian Lindgren - San Jose State and Del Miller - Kansas State) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners (other than Helfrich) selected this year's winner.
Helfrich will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.
Previous winners of the Quarterbacks Coach of the Year award are Josh Heupel (Oklahoma, 2008), Tom Rossley (Texas A&M, 2009), Helfrich (2010) and Philip Montgomery (Baylor, 2011).
6th Nationally - Passing Offense
2nd Nationally - Scoring Offense
6th Nationally - Completion Pct.
4th Nationally - Total Offense
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