|Eric Gay/Associated Press|
|The Oregon Ducks have to hope QB Marcus Mariota improves his ball security in 2014.|
The color would certainly match the Ducks' uniforms, and the problem is a familiar one for the team.
Oregon's Marcus Mariota, considered one of the top quarterback prospects in college football, fumbled 11 times last season. That total was tied for second-most in the NCAA, and it's something he'll have to improve on this fall if he hopes for a clean evaluation from NFL scouts. Earlier this month, Senior Bowl executive director and former Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage tweeted a reference to Mariota's shortcoming by Ducks radio color analyst Mike Jorgensen.
@jorgy_mike says Marcus Mariota has worked two primary areas in spring: ball security (11 fumbles in '13) and more outgoing leadership.â Phil Savage (@SeniorBowlPhil) May 3, 2014
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall led all of college football with 14 fumbles, but as a dual-threat quarterback who rushed 172 times, Marshall's fumbles are easier explained. For the same reason, so are those of Michigan's Devin Gardner (11) and Braxton Miller (10), who rushed just about as often (Gardner 165, Miller 171).
Mariota, with 386 pass attempts and 96 rushes in a shotgun offense, has no such excuse.
Manning and the Broncos fumbled 27 times last season, losing a league-high 16 of them, and Manning was in no mood to discuss it this week. If Mariota doesn't do a better job of securing the ball this fall, he'll have no choice but to discuss it when NFL scouts want to know why.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.