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Oregon's Mark Helfrich: QB Marcus Mariota can run any system

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich is as nice a person as you'll find in college football, no matter if it's in an interview or you're chatting off the field about any topic.

But if there is one thing that might tick him off, it's hearing about how the Ducks' offensive system is a detriment to star quarterback Marcus Mariota's draft status. In as polite a way as possible, he dismissed those concerns on the latest College Football 24/7 Podcast.

"Marcus can run any system and any offense at any level," Helfrich said. "Our system is our system. There's always that label, 'He's a system guy.' Everybody is a system guy.

"Our system has elements of a bunch, whether it's the West Coast offense, run-and-shoot, triple option, and our pro-style passing game. He can do all that stuff. So much of that is the ability to make great decisions, in rhythm, on time and be accurate with the ball and be tough. He's all those things."

Helfrich noted that Mariota is essentially at the graduate level when it comes to knowing the team's offense, but one of the things that has held the entire team back is the youth at the skill positions around him. Indeed, six of the top 10 players on team in terms of all-purpose yardage are either a freshman or sophomore and first year players lead the squad in both rushing and receiving. 

Either way, the Ducks coach had nothing but glowing praise for the Heisman Trophy candidate and thinks he'll easily steal the show at the NFL Scouting Combine when he moves on from Eugene.

"He's a competitive perfectionist. Every single thing he does, he wants to do great," Helfrich said. "He competes in period four just like he does in a BCS bowl game. To him, (the combine) is right in his wheelhouse, and he'll do great."

There's plenty of good stuff in the podcast about the parity in the Pac-12, top corner prospect Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and more. Helfrich even discusses his time with the Vienna (Austria) Vikings. Feel free to have a listen to the whole thing on iTunes or right here.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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