Barner Ready To Step Into Spotlight

Despite the circumstances surrounding what should be his starting debut Saturday afternoon, Oregon running back Kenjon Barner is prepared to assume the position.

EUGENE, OR -- With four days left until the Oregon football team kicks off their season at home versus New Mexico, the conversation regarding the Ducks' quarterback situation has dominated the headlines throughout the team's preparation for their opening game. However, somewhat lost in the shuffle has been the one-game suspension that will be served by sophomore running back LaMichael James for the Ducks' game against the Lobos, allowing one of James' closest friends and fellow backfield mate, Kenjon Barner, to get the start at running back this weekend. Up until the Rose Bowl game last season, Barner wasn't necessarily a household name outside the state of Oregon, though his 227 all-purpose yard performance in the "Grandaddy Of The All" went a long way in earning him some significant street cred and name recognition on the national stage. Entering this season, Barner (a former cornerback) is expected to figure heavily in the Ducks' offensive plans, with Oregon head coach Chip Kelly stating that he believes his talented sophomore back is on the brink of superstardom.

"I think that Kenjon is one of the top players in the country," said Kelly, "He's a dynamic football player. He's got speed, he's got vision. You saw him against an outstanding Ohio State team in the Rose Bowl...I'm really excited to see him play against some other competition aside from our team. I think he could be one of the top players in the country."

For Barner though, he's simply gracious for the opportunity to start this upcoming Saturday,

"I'm excited for it and I'm looking forward to it," admitted Barner, "I'm thankful that Coach Cam (Gary Campbell), Coach Kelly, and Coach (Mark) Helfrich see what they see in me to put me in that position and have the trust in me to start me at that position."

Oregon Official Injury Report:

RB Remene Alston (foot), OL Karrington Armstrong (ankle), OL Mark Asper (ankle), OL Hroniss Grasu (shoulder), WR Josh Huff (ankle), DL Isaac Remington (shoulder), LB Dewitt Stuckey (elbow), TE Curtis White (shoulder)

Notes: Despite being listing on the Ducks' injury report this morning, both Alston and Huff participated in team drills Tuesday. Though Huff still wore a non-contact jersey, he was moving around well and received significant reps with the second string offense. Alston wore a standard issue white offensive jersey this morning and showed little to no ill-effects from his nagging foot injury.

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