Dan Lanning: Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix ‘preparing as if he can go’ against Utah, backups ‘ready to go if needed’

The status of Oregon quarterback Bo Nix against No. 10 Utah remains undetermined, but the nation’s most accurate passer has been on the practice field this week and preparing to play Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.

Oregon coach Dan Lanning said Nix, who went down after taking a helmet to the thigh on a two-yard run on third and 5 in the fourth quarter and later returned for UO’s final drive in last week’s loss against Washington, is “preparing himself as if he can go” this week against the Utes (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12).

“Bo is a tough kid,” Lanning said during his weekly in-house radio show. “You look at a situation he goes down and is anxious to help his team out, is able to come back and play the last eight snaps of the game, throw the ball really well, give us an opportunity to be in position to possibly kick a field goal based on how a call was determined or not determined.

“We always put our players’ safety at the forefront of our minds, so came back in, really attacked his rehab this Sunday and has been able to be out there on the practice field for us this week. We’re being really conscientious of him and his reps, want to do a good job taking care of him. But he’s preparing himself as if he can go. But we also got some other guys ready to go if needed. Bo’s been really consistent all year in his approach and how he works, but it certainly was comforting as a coach to be able to see him get back out there on the field there on Saturday and put down a little reassurance.”

Nix asked Lanning to return to last week’s game prior to a critical fourth and 1, which ended with running back Noah Whittington slipping in the backfield and set up Washington for what went on to be the game-winning field goal. Lanning said he wished he would have called timeout to get Nix back in the game and also because Washington had eight defenders in the box against Oregon’s unbalanced formation.

After he returned, Nix threw back-to-back incompletions, was sacked on third down, then completed passes of 19, 10 and 12 yards. A 17-yard pass to Troy Franklin was wiped out by an illegal touching penalty and Nix’s last attempt fell incomplete.

Nix is completing a nation-leading 72.9% of his passes for 2,774 yards with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions and leads the Pac-12 in passer efficiency (173.16). He has rushed for 512 yards and 14 scores and has two catches for 35 yards and a touchdown.

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