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