Cameron Marshall returns after his solid freshman campaign where he scored two touchdowns and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Sophomore Jamal Miles got sparring playing time last year but has become a more complete player with his receiving this summer. James Morrison has been impressive in camp three straight years but has yet to see the field and the wild card of the group is true freshman, Deantre Lewis. Hailing from Norco, Calif. the young running back has been turning heads and blowing past defenders all camp with his lurid speed. Even freshman athlete Kyle Middlebrooks has been seeing the field some.
Now with a fully stocked cupboard, Coach Erickson still isn't entirely sure how carries will be distributed.
"We'll start with (Marshall). We'll use them in different situations but obviously Jamal (Miles) will be in there. (Lewis) will get a lot of carries. Middlebrooks is back there and he'll play a little bit too," Observed Erickson. "To say the least we've got a bit of depth back there. We've got some speed and I think we have to opportunity to break some long runs this year. If you're trying to move the football you need to have at least two twenty plus runs or passes on a drive. If you're only moving it 3 or 4 yards, it's not enough."
The offensive line is a unit that has undergone a lot of change and turnover, yet again. Former tight end Dan Knapp made the transition to left tackle and has seemingly locked down the spot. He's been running with the first unit almost since the start of camp and has impressed. Brice Schwab has been opposite of Knapp at right tackle for the bulk of camp but also saw some time at guard, which is where the real uncertainty appears on the line. Schwab, Adam Tello, Evan Finkenberg and Andrew Sampson have all spent time working at the guard spots with the ones. Erickson revealed today that there is another lineman who might procure some starting time at guard.
"(Mike) Marcisz has been playing pretty good at right guard. He's been a very pleasant surprise the last two weeks. We're going to experiment) with him at right guard and then we'll get Finkenberg in there. We'll probably play eight or nine guys on Saturday." Said Erickson.
The other main issue that has come to light with the offensive line is snapping. Starting center Garth Gerhart seems to have it down, but his backups have struggled. Erickson shed some light on the situation.
"(Snapping) is a lot harder than it looks. That's one thing about the shotgun. You get some bad snaps and things. I remember when we played Oregon a couple years ago two or three of them didn't make it there." Commented Erickson.
"We've got a couple of guys there. Andrew would be the first backup. Kody (Kobensky) has played there too. We'd like to have three guys there. It's such a hard position to play and hard position to deal with. You want to train three but hopefully you never have to get down to that. Sampson would go in there first. Kody did pretty good there. He snapped it pretty well. It's a hard position to play but he picked it up pretty well. He could go in and play."