What Is the Future Of Oregon's Running Game?

Caleb M.Analyst ISeptember 17, 2009

So, what's being labeled as "The Punch Heard Round The World" has affected the Oregon Ducks more than Justin Roper and Chris Harper transferring out this offseason.

Yes, this may be a week late, but I just developed an idea for this article after his suspension.

So while you're thinking "This is old, everyone is over the Blount thing," I'm saying "No you're not, because we still don't have an official starter."

A lot of us Duck fans are left wondering..."Blount's out!? Who's our starter now!?"

Most likely, we are going to see a dual threat. We have two decent backs that should be used together—similar to Jeremiah Johnson and Jonathan Stewart. 

I'll analyze the two running backs and describe their roles in the backfield.

Andre Crenshaw.

Crenshaw seems the obvious choice to many Duck fans. He was the third leading rusher in 2007 and played multi-roles.

He lined up as a slot receiver, ran special teams, ran the ball, took direct snaps, and also lined up on defense from time to time.

He ran for 52 yards on eight carries against South Flordia in the Sun Bowl that year. He also returned six kickoffs for 122 yards. 

He does have a problem that I noticed toward the end of last year, and again with the start of this year:

He's a short distance runner. He can only get 1-2 yards a carry. I see him starting as a goal line runner to punch it in for the score. He'll probably start as a kick returner as well, alongside Walter Thurmond. 

Crenshaw may receive snaps from Masoli from time to time before the goal line offense, but for the majority of the games, he should serve as a power back punching it in.

LaMichael James.

Pictured above is the freshman running back—the future of the Oregon Ducks. Now, granted, he is a freshman. But he has played rather well. In high school, he was ranked the 12th best running back in the nation.

This year, as seen in that link, he's in line to be on top of the depth chart. He led the team in rushing yards against Boise State and Purdue, when he got 56 yards on nine attempts.

Some may look at the stats as insignificant, but you must look beyond the stats. If you got a chance to watch him play, you understand. He had explosion and some fantastic cutbacks against both Boise State and Purdue.


Honestly here, folks. These two provide a great dual threat for the Ducks. With Masoli at the helm, I think the Ducks will only suffer three other losses this year: USC, Cal, and either Arizona State or OSU. 

In any case, LaMichael James is a great freshman and will go on to do good things—assuming he doesn't follow in LaGarrette Blount's footsteps. For now, our running game should be great once again. 

If Chip Kelly can step up to the plate, we should see more option.


The option plays rocked the nation when Dennis Dixon was around. It's what killed with Stewart and Dixon running it. Nobody could cover the speed of Dixon, and when that was combined with Jonathan Stewart's power...it was dynamic. 

Masoli and James may never be that good, but they'll win some games for the Ducks. 

You've seen the future for Oregon.

We have the weapons, the fans, and the sexy uniforms, now we need to execute. I see good things coming our way. The nation will once again fear the Oregon Ducks coming to their stadiums.