The Black Mamba; Oregon’s Feature ‘Back in 2013

Autzen Seating

DeAnthony Thomas dragging Arizona State tacklers.

There is a lot of speculation among Duck fans this offseason on how much the Black Mamba, DeAnthony Thomas, carries the ball next season.  Will he stay in the slot with two to five carries from the backfield?  Will he still be featured more in the passing game than the run game?  Will he receive 150 carries?  All of the above are questions every Duck fan has been wondering.

Thomas’ freshman year in 2011, he carried the ball 55 times for 595 yards – 10.8 yards per carry – and seven rushing touchdowns.  In 2012 as a sophomore, his load nearly doubled as he toted the rock 92 times for 701 yards – 7.6 yards per carry – and 11 touchdowns.  While the Mamba shined in his TZR role, adding 91 receptions during his first two seasons, I expect him to get more carries while once again nearing 50 receptions in 2013.

Young, talented receivers like BJ Kelley should grant DAT more carries in 2013.

Just how many carries will Thomas get?  I would venture to guess somewhere between 125-140 carries next season for the most exciting player in college football.  It would not behoove Helfrich and Co. to give DAT seven carries or less per game in 2013; that happened nine times in 2012.

Thomas is as shifty and explosive as they come.  As the veteran running back on the team, he must be allowed to advertise his durability from behind the line of scrimmage.  Thomas only eclipsed 100+ rushing yards in two games last year (Fresno State and Oregon State).  In both of those games he had seven or more carries.  With Byron Marshall, Thomas Tyner and Kani Benoit earning scholarships at running back, carries are sure to be split among three, maybe all four backs.  But Thomas possesses a unique skill-set that no other runningback on the team, maybe in the country, can match.

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Brandon Gruber

Brandon Gruber

Brandon is a senior at The University of Oregon majoring in Film Studies and minoring in Communications. Brandon has been a Duck fan for ten years since he moved from southern California to Salem, Oregon, and quickly realized the Ducks were the missing piece in his life. A Pac-12 fan since birth, much of his family attended UCLA and has since converted all of them to the Quack Attack. Brandon interned for the Statesman Journal covering the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and hopes to work for the Pac-12 in the near future. He also hopes to see the "Flying-V" formation played out on the football field in the fall of 2013. Brandon would love your feedback on any and all articles. Tweet me: @BrandonGruber

  • http://www.facebook.com/DuckFan47 Vicki Berg Smith

    Great article on DAT #GoDivks

  • http://www.facebook.com/DuckFan47 Vicki Berg Smith

    Geez I hate my phone sometimes #GoDucks!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.hedlind David Hedlind

    Helfrich has already said that he doesn’t plan on using DAT as a feature back next year but would rather present him as a moving target.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.giambattista.7 Michael Giambattista

    I think it all depends on how Tyner and Marshall develop.