Injuries to defensive players have caused problems for Chip Kelly and Oregon, and the head coach is coming up with creative solutions. Star wide receiver and running back De’Anthony Thomas may be featured at defensive back in the Ducks’ upcoming game against Stanford.
Adam Jude of The Oregonian reported that Thomas has spent time in the secondary during practice in the past, and quoted an unnamed source saying that he or she “would not be surprised” if Thomas played defense.
Jude also notes that safeties Avery Patterson and John Boyett are out for the year, while cornerbacks Troy Hill and Dior Mathis are struggling with injuries.
The Ducks rose to the No. 2 spot in the BCS Rankings this week after they defeated California 59-17, and Alabama was upset by Texas A&M. Oregon has a difficult remaining schedule, with games against No. 16 Stanford and No. 13 Oregon State to finish out its season.
If Kelly can lead his team to victory in both contests, the team is all but guaranteed a spot in the national championship game. This is why the coach may ask Thomas to contribute on defense, in addition to his duties on offense and special teams.
In his sophomore season, Thomas has continued to show why he is one of the most explosive athletes in the nation. He has averaged 7.9 yards per carry out of the backfield while recording 521 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
He has also caught 37 passes for 378 yards and four touchdowns. Thomas has scored once during his return duties this year as well.
His speed, quickness and vision are all elite and he can surely use his physical gifts to be effective on defense. Thomas’ ability to play on both sides of the ball will be yet another intriguing storyline in the upcoming showdown between Oregon and Stanford.