It took all of twelve seconds to view what the future of Oregon football will consist of the next two seasons, offensively. DeAnthony Thomas, better known as the “Black Mamba”, took the Fiesta Bowl’s opening kickoff 94 yards to pay dirt while reaching a speed of up to 26 mph as he crossed the goal line. Thomas is yet another running back that will thrive in the high-octane offensive system Chip Kelly has created. Unlike his predecessors, LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, Thomas possesses a pass-catching ability that will allow Chip Kelly more flexibility in using him at multiple positions and across numerous formations, giving the offense yet another advantage over its opponents. All 3 players had the speed and quickness to excel at the inside zone read aspect of the Ducks offense; however, Thomas can line up at any skill position on the field which provides the offense more pre-snap formation versatility in generating mismatches at the point of attack. Factoring this more into the mix next season will be an outstanding feature of the Ducks 2013 offensive success.
DeAnthony Thomas was first on the team in receptions, second in receiving yards, and averaged a team high 7.6 yards per rush for the 2012 season. Also, he has four career return touchdowns in just two seasons. If this is not true offensive versatility, then I have no idea what would be. Look for this all-purpose back to double his touches in 2013, become the key element of the Ducks’ offensive approach, and throw his name into the Heisman mix, all in his junior season. Based on his success so far, particularly in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, it is evident that the torch has truly been passed to DeAnthony Thomas as he is in line to be the next great Oregon running back.