Former Ducks star replaces Kyle Rowley late in 64-45 loss at San Jose

One of several developments with the Portland Thunder after their 2-3 start is a possible two-headed quarterback situation — although coach Mike Hohensee has said he does not want to use two QBs on a regular basis.

Starter Kyle Rowley struggled in last week's 64-45 defeat on the road against the 5-0 San Jose SaberCats, and backup Darron Thomas shined in his first real run at QB this season.THOMAS

This is Thomas' second Arena Football League season. The former Oregon Ducks star saw limited action a year ago as he adjusted to the game. Against San Jose, he got on the field in the late going and hit 4 of 7 passes, two for touchdowns.

"His first two passes he overthrew -- he was a little excited," Hohensee says. "Then he settled down and did a good job.

"The thing about Darron is he's stayed focused. He hasn't complained about anything. He's been good at film study. He was mentally prepared when he went in, that's a positive. He's working as if he's going to start. It's very gratifying."

The AFL game is different from the outdoor, zone-read, wide-open style of the Ducks. Different things are demanded of the quarterbacks in arena football, throws often have to be made in a hurry and in tight spaces, and the confines aren't conducive to much running or scrambling, which was a major part of Thomas' game at the U of O.

"It's not just when the ball has to come out, it's how fast the defense moves and what they're doing in different formations," Hohensee says, "and those are things Darron has just learned. He's got a great comfort level now in understanding defenses.

"He had to use his legs a couple of times Saturday, and did a good job of it, but it's pass first, run second now, and I really think he's taken pride in his development as a quarterback. And I think it showed."

So, is anything going to be different with the Thunder QB depth chart as they go to Philadelphia for a 3 p.m. PT Saturday game against the 5-0 Soul?

"Nothing," Hohensee says. "Kyle's got to get better, no doubt about it. He's got to be consistent. We know we've got a kid back there who's ready. We'll go from there. We don't want to create any kind of controversy that's not there.

"Now it's up to Kyle to show us he's our guy and continue to win games for us."

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