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 FishDuck.com, 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”.
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