Run game looks to get back on track

Without a rushing touchdown, Oregon looks to bring Byron Marshall back to the fold against UCLA.

After a chaotic week in the Top 25, the Ducks found themselves right in the middle at #12. The meeting between Oregon and UCLA was supposed to be the marquee matchup of Pac-12 powers ranked in the Top 10. Now they aren’t even the highest ranked teams in the conference.

The Ducks are looking to move on after being upended by Arizona and one flaw that has plagued the Ducks over the past couple weeks is the absence of the running game. For the last two weeks, Oregon has not scored a rushing touchdown and much of that is on the patchwork offensive line that Oregon has remaining.

“My thing is, we just have to get better. Whether we would have won or lost that game, we just have to be better. That’s a concern of mine, obviously we have some injuries but our job in the back field is to make plays. I don’t think we’re doing as good of a job as we can and we need to, to produce the kind of running game we want to have,” said running backs coach Gary Campbell.

Out of the three running backs Oregon has played this season, Byron Marshall has been the most explosive with the ball in his hands. He has an advantage of starting in the open field more than Thomas Tyner or Royce Freeman, but coach Campbell says he is entertaining the thought of lining Marshall up in the back field moving forward.

“Byron has done probably the best job of breaking or avoiding tackles of any of our backs or receivers. If we can afford to put him back in the back field and take away from some of his receiving duties, then we have to do that,” said Campbell.

With so many teams in the top 10 faltering last week, it gives Oregon second life in the conference and national race. What they must avoid is another let down like they had last year when they lost in Tucson to take them out of the conference title picture.

“We just have to practice well and play well. The thing about our league right now is everyone is dangerous and if you don’t play well against anyone in our league you’re going to be in a battle. I think there are going to be a lot of close games in our league going and we will be in a lot of them and we have to make the plays when it counts,” said offensive coordinator Scott Frost.

Oregon hopes to get Jake Fisher back on the offensive line this week against UCLA and he could go a long way in improving the Ducks’ offensive output. Getting him in game shape and getting some snaps under his belt will benefit Oregon and could be the difference in coming out of Los Angeles with a win.

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