Oregon Football: LaMichael James and the Ducks Have Sped To the Top

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Oregon Football: LaMichael James and the Ducks Have Sped To the Top
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Speed.

If college football has a more blatant utilization for winning, many are unaware of it. Speed has frequently overpowered brawn of late, and the fact is apparent. Speed in major college football is equivalent to winning seasons and BCS bowl appearances.

Team speed is attributed toward and affiliated with some of the best teams in college football annually, and in 2010 it has emerged amongst the field through one team it seems: the Oregon Ducks.

The Quack Attack not only pack a walloping punch with their agile rushing attack, but can spread the field vertically. Wide receivers can catch a 50-yard pass and just as easily throw a huge block for the quarterback the very next play. Limber offensive linemen open holes for explosive LaMichael James, and it's often off to the races.

The race is one the Ducks normally win. Ranking first in total offense with nearly 575 yards per game and first in scoring offense with 55 points per game, Oregon has rapidly sprung out to the second spot in the poll position.

Rapid might be an understating adjective.

With an offense that's "so fast paced with so many things going on," in the words of USC's defensive coordinator, many with the same job position are stumped on solutions. They don't really have much time to think, either.

Oregon averages close to 23 seconds per play, deploying a fast-tempo spread offense that's 11 seconds faster per play than the national average. The principle? Physical conditioning.

As teams start off the game, going full force on defense and rushing at the Ducks every play, they begin to tire. Oregon's conditioning is far superior to that of the opposition, according to their win-loss record thus far.

Oregon running back LaMichael James noted, "Teams aren't aggressive as they were at the beginning of the game."

He's not lying.

Over 75 percent of Oregon's points in their Pac-10 Conference games came in the second half of play. With a better conditioned team, the Ducks are receiving results in the final two quarters of action which have ultimately propelled them in their climb to the top.

A huge piece of the offensive attack is apparent, being in the backfield with LaMichael James. James has been a major contributor to the spread offense at Oregon since he stepped on campus it seems, and this season has been no different. Oregon currently has the third-best rushing attack numbers-wise in college football, trailing only pre-dominant rushing offenses Navy and Georgia Tech.

With success you have to look to the man in charge, in this case Chip Kelly. Longtime offensive coordinator, Kelly became the head coach last season in place of Mike Bellotti. He's responsible for all the tweaks to the tempo, and of course is a fan of the results.

"We just try to eliminate that time between plays. Just go play," Kelly said. The wait to see how Oregon finishes their race to the title game is certainly interesting, but rather unfortunate that it can't come as fast as Oregon's offense is.

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