Dan Lanning says Bo Nix is playing at an elite level, and no one can say otherwise
Dan Lanning was resolute in his support of Bo Nix after a season-opening loss to Georgia. The former Auburn quarterback threw two interceptions in his Oregon debut and the Ducks mustered just three points in a 46-point blowout. It looked ugly, and there were immediate calls to see the backup. But Lanning reiterated that Nix was the man for the job.
Six games later, it’s legitimately impossible to argue with him.
Oregon won its sixth consecutive game on Saturday — a 45-30 beatdown of UCLA that saw the Ducks score points on each of their first six possessions. Nix threw for five touchdowns and missed on only six throws all game.
Lanning doesn’t need to say “I told you so.” The tape doesn’t lie.
“I don’t think anyone can sit here and watch football right now and watch our quarterback play and tell me he’s not an elite quarterback,” Lanning told reporters after the game. “This guy’s playing at an extremely high level. He makes great decisions for our team.
“You can’t watch a football game right now and say that guy’s not elite. He’s an elite competitor, he’s an elite leader, he has phenomenal character, he’s throwing the ball really well, and he’s making great decisions. He’s humble and I think everybody on our team is excited about his success.”
Nix completed 22 of his 28 passes for 283 yards and five touchdowns. It was the third time this season Nix has produced five offensive touchdowns, be it passing or rushing. That’s something he never did in three seasons at Auburn. The sixth incompletion was a throw out of the back of the endzone to kill off the last few seconds of game clock; without it, Nix had as many scores as misses.
Robert Griffin III won a Heisman a few years ago doing stuff like that. Nix is making it hard to ignore him in that conversation now. That’s five times this year with multiple touchdowns and no turnovers. He doesn’t have huge yardage numbers, but he’s been as efficient as any in the country since the Week 1 loss.
All year, Lanning has said time and time again that what Nix is doing doesn’t surprise the Oregon staff because they see it every day in practice.
They’ve believed in him from the opening game, and that belief has never wavered.
“There’s not something that he’s doing now that he wasn’t doing before, I just think he’s in really good sync and really good rhythm,” Lanning said. “There are some moments in this game where Bo said, ‘Hey coach, are you guys good with this? Are you comfortable with this call?’ Absolutely. You want your quarterback to feel like he can be the play-caller at times.
“He’s making great decisions with the ball, he’s not putting the ball in jeopardy. He’s playing really smart football, unselfish football. That’s going to lead to opportunities for us to win. If he continues to do that I think we’ll continue to see success.”