In 2013, it is likely that running back Byron Marshall will have the biggest impact for the Ducks this season. Combine the loss of Kenjon Barner with the fact that many believe DeAnthony will never be an every down back and you’ve got a good amount of carries to fill (especially if the Ducks continue the run mentality that began under Chip Kelly).
Many will say that we have Thomas Tyner coming in and that he is the next real deal for the Ducks at the running back position. While I am not shooting down the idea of Tyner becoming the main man behind Mariota, it would be foolish to overlook a very good young runner in Byron Marshall.
In very limited time as a freshman this past season, Marshall showed signs of brilliance and serious tackle breaking ability. Mr. Marshall mostly played when games had long ago been decided, but that can’t take away from the ability he showed. Playing just nine games his freshman season, Marshall didn’t disappoint. He finished those nine games with 87 rushing attempts for 447 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Not too shabby for a freshman who mostly sat on the bench until the fourth quarter and then only entered when the victor had already been decided — and of course, the defense knew a handoff to the running back was inevitable.
Regardless of his production and use as a freshman, Byron Marshall will have a much larger role this season and I expect him to take the job and run with it…literally!
Photo at top courtesy of Gary Breedlove