Friday, March 09, 2012
Duck Stuff: Morning Mud
• Ted Miller continues his Pac-12 top 25 countdown where you will find LaMichael James in the number three slot.
James is the greatest player in Oregon history, and one of the greatest running backs in Pac-12 history. A two-time consensus All-American, he finished his career with 5,082 yards rushing and 53 rushing TDs, totals which both rank second in conference history. He ranked second in the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (181.30), and 11th in scoring average (10.0). He produced 26 games of 100-plus, and seven of 200-plus rushing yards.
What most folks don't seem to realize is that James in 2011 was probably better than James in 2010, when he was a Heisman finalist and won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back. He averaged more yards per carry -- 7.3 vs. 5.9 -- than he did in 2010, and did so with a rebuilt offensive line. So why is he No. 3? The distinction ultimately came down to this: Outstanding years by quarterbacks eclipse outstanding years by running backs.
• College Football News has Oregon newcomer OT Kyle Long as one of their top 25 Juco transfers.
The son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long—and brother of St. Louis Ram Chris Long—has taken the curvaceous route to Eugene. Since leaving high school in Virginia, the middle of Howie’s kids has been drafted by the Chicago White Sox, signed by Florida State to play football and apprenticed at Saddleback (Calif.) Junior College. He’s tall, powerful and very athletic, a natural fit to protect the pocket from the tackle spot. He has a year of eligibility remaining, and will do no worse than provide depth and veteran leadership to an Oregon line losing a pair of starters.
• George Schroeder writing for SI.com has a burning question about Oregon.
Either Bryan Bennett or Marcus Mariota will win the quarterback spot formerly held by Darron Thomas. While his decision to jump early for the draft was iffy, there's no questioning the void Thomas left behind. Both Bennett and Mariota are more athletic than Thomas, but his poise and confidence were important keys to Oregon's success the last two seasons. LaMichael James is gone, too, leaving a huge hole -- but the Ducks have veteran talent at running back. De'Anthony Thomas' Rose Bowl performance -- two carries, 155 yards, two touchdowns -- suggests an emerging star. Kenjon Barner can scoot, too, though the news that backup Tra Carson intends to transfer thins the Ducks' depth at the position. Ultimately, the biggest question was answered in late January. Yes, it turns out, Chip Kelly decided to return after ever so briefly agreeing to become Tampa Bay's coach. With Kelly's track record, the spring will be a nice time to see how the Ducks plug-and-play the next generation of stars.
Posted by Mike Wines at 4:41 AM