Oregon pushing QB Marcus Mariota to be a more vocal leader

Marcus Mariota has added 12 pounds of muscle in the offseason, but that's not the kind of development that new Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has been pushing for from his quarterback.

Helfrich wants Mariota to be a more vocal and visible leader for the Ducks, as the redshirt sophomore's quiet, almost shy disposition was readily apparent to anyone that attended Pac-12 Media Day, including NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks.

"He doesn't strike you as the prototypical franchise quarterback who kind of has that take charge personality," Brooks said on the latest NFL Draft 365 podcast (the discussion of Mariota begins at the 16:43 mark).

Helfrich compared Mariota to another "mute" quarterback in Andrew Walter, who was ordered by Helfrich while the two were at Arizona State to say something to a teammate after every play. That edict hasn't been passed on to Mariota yet, but Helfrich is making the same point.

"It's so easy, but it is a habit," Helfrich said. "The more the backup slot guy thinks Marcus cares about his route, the better that guy is going to play.

"To do something that is a little unnatural and will benefit everybody and is pretty easy, that's a no-brainer.

So much of Oregon's personality rested with former head coach Chip Kelly, whose aggressiveness bordering on abrasiveness filtered down to the entire team. Helfrich doesn't exhibit that kind of fire, nor does he expect Mariota to do so.

"Those kind of things, you can't fake it. You can't force it," Helfrich said. "He's not going to jump up and down and throw chairs and get in a fist fight in the locker room -- nor should he -- but he is going to assert himself more and he did a nice job of that in the spring."

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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