Kenny Who? Bassett Could be a New Face in RB Rotation


While watching Oregon’s game with Washington on Saturday, two questions burned in my head. Firstly, why was Royce Freeman getting so many carries? Second, why was Kenny Bassett, No. 31, getting a significant number of carries? Where the heck were Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner? The final game stats showed Freeman getting a majority of the work load with 29 carries. Marshall and Tyner combined for only eight and, Bassett, originally Oregon’s fourth string running back, got six carries on his own.

Coming into the UW game, Bassett had a total of five carries on the season. I got a chance to talk to Bassett for, and I asked him how it felt to finally get some meaningful game experience. He said, ”It felt real good. It felt good to contribute to the team”.

Kenny Bassett more than doubled his season total for carries on Saturday.

Kevin Cline

Kenny Bassett more than doubled his season total for carries on Saturday. 

Bassett, a redshirt senior, has been with the program for a long time. He has been the backup to past Oregon greats like LaMichael James, DeAnthony Thomas, and Kenjon Barner. I asked him how working with these guys, as well as the new young guys like Freeman and Tyner, have helped him develop as a player. As for the young guys, Bassett said, “I’ve been here a while…I’ve helped them a lot”. He attributed his ability to mentor the young players to his long tenure here at Oregon, saying, “[Kenjon Barner], [LaMichael James], they helped me a lot… Competing with all the great running backs that come through here, that’s definitely helped me”.

Finally, I asked Bassett when he went into Saturday’s game against the Huskies if wanted prove himself. Very modestly, he said, ”When I get in the game it’s really not about me. Our whole goal as a team is to win. I’ve been here long enough to know it’s not a selfish game”.

As a player whose been here for five years, and who certainly knows the ropes, it looks like Bassett may finally get his shot to join the Oregon RB rotation. With Helfrich looking to move Marshall more to the slot WR position, Bassett could take over as third string RB behind Freeman and Tyner. After the way he played Saturday, he at least deserves a shot.

Top photo from Kevin Cline



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Caleb Couturie

Caleb Couturie

Caleb is a sophomore at the University of Oregon intending to double major in Journalism and Sports Management. He is the Managing Editor for, along with being a lifetime Saints and San Francisco Giants fan, as Caleb fell in love with sports at a young age and developed that love into a passion for sports analysis. He is looking forward to cheering on the Ducks throughout his career at Oregon, and is always willing to talk sports with any fellow fan.

  • maddog48

    Bassett has always been part of the rotation even if it was late in the game. The real issues here are how seriously is Tyner injured? Whatever happened to Kani Benoit? Why can’t Marshall get more reps at running back? Why can’t Forde be shifted back to running back if we are now “thin” at that position?

    • dannyduck

      Those are the same questions I had. I find no answers to any of them except T. Tyner hurt his shoulder. What happened to Forde and Benoit?

  • Caleb

    I think Bassett proved more than enough that Oregon is definitely not “thin” at RB. That UW defense is filled with bruisers (Thompson, Shelton, Kikaha, etc.), and Freeman literally ran over them. Royce is looking insanely good as of recent, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised (fingers crossed) if he’s competing for a Heisman in two years. He and Devon Allen could be scary good with another two years each. Also Marshall is slowly being converted to receiver, with most of his carries coming from the jet sweep. Bassett also showed how well five years of football has treated him when he picked up some HUGE blocks to save Mariota multiple times from UW’s blitzing linebacker. Obviously it’d be great to get tyner back to full strength, but honestly we are so deep at RB I’d just as soon see him sit most of the game against Cal to get ready for Stanford.