Oregon Football: Should Chip Kelly Play De'Anthony Thomas on Special Teams?

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterSeptember 15, 2012

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 15:  De'Anthony Thomas #6 of the Oregon Ducks runs for a touchdown in the 1st quarter against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on September 15, 2012 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

If you're worried about the Oregon Ducks playing De'Anthony Thomas on special teams, don't; the sophomore has got to get his touches.

A year ago the Ducks got Thomas about 10 touches a game and now, with LaMichael James gone, this number needs to, and should, increase. In DAT, you're not dealing with a freshman whom you want to use as a change of pace; in 2012, he is a sophomore with a year of weight training under his belt who is a critical element to the Ducks' offensive success.

Thomas is not returning kickoffs much this year, even though the kickoff game is where he made his hay in 2011. Instead, he's getting extra touches as a spark in punt return action. So far this year the Ducks sophomore has not taken one to the house, but he's been close a time or two.

Don't fret about the 5'9" sophomore being on the special teams; he's no more at risk during a punt return than he is at any other point of the game. In fact, if you're worried about him getting hurt, then you should be more concerned about the runs between the tackles that he executes a couple times a game.

For Chip Kelly and his staff, the goal has to be getting DAT the ball upwards of fifteen times a game. With Thomas on punt returns the coaching staff is stealing a few touches a game for the speedy sophomore from Los Angeles. He's going to get carries in the run game, catches in the passing game, and by having him be a player in the return game, he is putting pressure on opposing teams. The more way to put the pressure on defenses the better.

If you're Oregon the best thing you can do is "let DAT cook" from all over the field.