The Oregon Ducks are one of the most explosive offensive teams in all of college football and currently have the inside track for a berth in the BCS National Championship game at season’s end. A major part of their success is the incredible depth of playmakers at Mark Helfrich’s disposal as the roster is brimming with athletes that can break a game wide open. So with De’Anthony Thomas possibly out this Saturday against the Colorado Buffaloes, it could be time for freshman Thomas Tyner to really shine in the Ducks’ high-powered running game.
Tyner was a huge local recruit for Oregon and the Ducks made sure he didn’t get out of the state. He is a dynamic runner with speed to burn and set the Oregon state high school record with 10 touchdowns in a single game last year on his birthday. That kind of play garnered plenty of national attention for the running back, but stayed resolute in his commitment to Oregon in order to become the next DAT in the high-powered Oregon offense.
Already, he’s shown flashes of ability that point to a huge collegiate career for Tyner. Despite missing the first game of the season with an injury and taking his first snap late in the game against the Virginia Cavaliers, Tyner is third on the team in rushing attempts and fourth in yards, gaining 174 yards on 25 carries. He’s found the endzone four times already in mop-up duty for the Ducks, but has been seeing his carries per game rise each week.
After Thomas was injured on the opening kickoff of the game against the Cal Bears, the Oregon offense hardly missed a beat. Primary backup Byron Marshall had a career day, rushing 19 times for 130 yards with a pair of touchdowns in relief of Thomas and Tyner worked into the game as well. He carried the ball 13 times for 94 yards with a touchdown as the Ducks rolled the Bears in a rainy 55-16 romp in Autzen Stadium.
With Thomas forced to watch the game from the sidelines on crutches last Saturday, Oregon proved that it can still run a high-powered, up-tempo offense. With bigger games on the horizon past Colorado, Helfrich will likely take a cautious approach to DAT’s return to the field. That means more opportunities for Marshall as the starting back and more opportunities for the fantastic freshman Thomas Tyner to rotate in and make some plays.
The future remains bright for the Oregon offense and we’ll get a great look at just how good they will be in the years to come with Tyner seeing an expanded role this weekend.