EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Quarterback Marcus Mariota is ready to take on more of a leadership role with the Oregon Ducks this season.
Last year at this time, Mariota was a redshirt freshman and an unknown commodity, having played only on the practice squad. He emerged during the spring game and eventually supplanted supposed starter Bryan Bennett in fall camp.
Throughout his rookie season, he mostly left the leadership to the seniors. He says it's his turn now.
Oregon finished last season 12-1 with a 35-17 victory over No. 7 Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. It was the Ducks' fourth straight trip to a BCS bowl game and second straight win. Oregon was ranked No. 2 in the season's final AP Top 25.
Oregon's preparation for the coming season started earlier this month with spring practice.