Our new Friday series is the OREGON UNKNOWNS, where we look at interesting stories or facts about our beloved Ducks that few casual fans know about!
Former Oregon running back Allan Amundson (#34, 1999-2002) started his career on the field quickly for the Ducks as a true freshman. He showed a rare burst of speed with a reported elite-level 4.2 second 40 yd. dash (He ran a 4.34 during Oregon’s pro day) that had Duck fans giddy about his potential.
However, learning to manage the grind off the field was a slower process. Like many, he had a hard time adapting to new responsibilities of college life.
Many fans will remember the “LaMichael – sized” 5’9″ 185 lb. Amundson for his good hands and big play ability as a kick returner and in the back field as a running back. Perhaps Amundson’s biggest play as a Duck was his one yard touchdown run in overtime while filling in for an injured Maurice Morris against ASU in Tempe.
In one of the more thrilling wins in Duck history, Joey Harrington threw two of his six touchdown passes in the final 3:21 to send the game into overtime. The #10 Ducks then prevailed, 56-55 in double OT in a game some have referred to as “the miracle in the desert.”
Talkin’ about practice, man
In the early days, Amundson was said to have been late for practice too often. He also had a bad habit of missing class, showing up late for tutoring sessions, etc.
Oregon football as a whole is successful in part because it’s a reward based system directed by the actions of the individual players.
That said, the “reward” for negative behavior was having to show up early every Tuesday and Thursday for “six-thirties”, which served as a punishment for players who had a hard time following through. The rogue players were forced to report at 6:30 am to run laps around the stadium, run stairs, and run with a rope around them pulling a tire. In essence, six-thirties were a really sweaty outdoor version of detention.
Sounds like fun, right?
Long time Oregon assistant coach and noted strength and conditioning guru Jimmy Radcliffe was usually the one who had the pleasure of meeting them there bright and early to direct the workouts, but the players position coach would also be there to watch. In Amundson’s case, running backs coach Gary Campbell was the lucky one.
Not surprisingly, Campbell grew tired of being there all the time, and especially so when the weather turned bad in the frigid and wet weather mornings.
One particularly cold and wet day, a wise Coach Campbell — while inside the cozy confines of his 500 series Mercedes-Benz – chose to not suffer the hardships imposed by the elements and instead drove down the Autzen stadium tunnel and onto the field. Rather than needlessly stand outside in the cold, he found that sitting in his running car with the heat on and drinking his coffee to be a much more enjoyable vantage point to observe the workouts.
There was the coach just sitting relaxed in his nice warm car while Allan was out there working his tail off in the cold and rain!