The Ducks running back, Byron Marshall played in many different positions in the 2014 season. We saw him take handoffs from the backfield, return kickoffs, and also worked as a motion man playing slot receiver.
So how will Marshall’s versatile skill set apply to Oregon’s offensive scheme this season? It could be applied many different ways, but with a lot of young talent coming in at wide receiver, we may see the soon to be senior’s role change in the offense.
Marshall, who ran the ball 52 times last season averaged 7.5 yards per carry while playing running back. He also had a total of 74 receptions while averaging 13.6 yards. He ended the 2014 season with a total of 392 rushing yards, and a total of 1,003 receiving yards. Marshall also ended the year with 7 touchdowns, one of them from rushing and six coming from receiving.
We saw a clear change in his game compared to his sophomore season where he only had 13 receptions for 155 yards. He was considered one of the starting backs along with Thomas Tyner his sophomore year, running the ball 168 times while picking up 1,038 yards.
This large change between the number of touches he took in the backfield from his Sophomore and Junior seasons could have been impacted due to the breakout season of freshman phenom, Royce Freeman. After Freeman began to put up promising numbers, Marshall’s role changed as he became a motion man moving into the slot position quite frequently.
We could see a lot of the same play we witnessed last season from Marshall. Expect coach Mark Helfrich to continue using him as a do-it-all back for the upcoming 2015 season. During the upcoming weeks leading up to the Spring Game, we could see Marshall continue moving between the slot and running back positions as it was widely successful for the Ducks’ offense last season. Using Marshall as a motion man adds an extra edge to Oregon’s high-octane offense which will keep opposing defenses on their toes.
Top Photo by: John Giustina