We didn’t see a Duck with a 100 yard rushing game until week six against UCLA when Royce Freeman broke out with 121 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Despite waiting half the season for a performance like that, the Ducks rushing attack has been the key in allowing Marcus Mariota to spread the ball around the field while demolishing records left and right.
Our own Caleb Couturie of FishDuck.com spoke with running backs coach Gary Campbell today at the Hatfield-Downlin Complex to talk about the key to this offense.
The Stanford game means a lot for the Ducks. Not only are they seeking to avenge last year’s 26-20 defeat, but they are trying to establish their dominance in the strong Pac-12 North. Stanford’s defense has done an excellent job this year, allowing only 141.6 rushing yards per game and a mere 12.5 points per game- good enough to rank second in the country. Gary Campbell, Oregon running backs coach, is aware that his backs are in for a challenge “They’re big and strong… and known for being physical” he said of Stanford’s front seven. Undaunted, he spoke of the toughness of this team- “our guys are pretty physical as well.” Get ready for a battle in the trenches Saturday night in Autzen
Coach Campbell spoke highly of true freshman Charles Nelson telling us he was a “dynamic athlete. He has great speed a quickness… a really tough guy for his size.” Nelson might be listed as a wide receiver, but the coaching staff have used him all over the field this season. In the 2014 opening game against South Dakota, Nelson returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown, showing off the speed and quickness Coach Campbell is so excited about. Using Nelson as a running back throws off opposing defenses. He gives the Ducks a “change of pace from what defenses are used to seeing [with the other backs]” Campbell said. Oregon is going to need that speed and quickness against a tough Cardinal defense this weekend.
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove