Bang! Just like that, the Oregon Ducks have been moved up in the AP College Football Polls, from No. 3 to No. 2 in the nation. The Ducks somehow swooped in and stole former-No. 2 Ohio State’s spot, and they’ll gladly take it. On Saturday, Oregon absolutely demolished FCS foe Nicholls State — but perhaps sportswriters across the nation took something more out of that game than Duck fans did.
With the delightful bump to No. 2, we also had the opportunity to obtain a better understanding of player roles this past weekend. The biggest surprise was De’Anthony’s shift into the starting running back position. Throughout the offseason, coaches and players were constantly asked about how the Black Momba’s position would be affected, now that both LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner were no longer ahead of him.
Their response was that his role would remain consistent, as in previous years, because if too much attention were on him as the RB, it would make it much more difficult for him to succeed. Well, Coach Helfrich definitely decided to shock the Ducks fans by starting Thomas as the premier running back – giving receiver Bralon Addison a larger role as kick returner (a spot Thomas had grown accustomed to over the past two years).
Regardless of his position change, Thomas still dominated the stats sheet with a 128-yard rushing performance, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Maybe the sportswriters determining the AP Poll rankings opened their eyes to a different Ducks team, now that De’Anthony is the starting back. Or, it could have been simply the absolute dominance that Oregon displayed, as opposed to Ohio State’s 20-point win in their first game. Either way, the Ducks will look to maintain their ranking and possibly jump No. 1 Alabama, when the Ducks play 5th-ranked Stanford on November 7th, down on the Farm.