DuckTalk: Run game developing into an interesting competition
Who will be the next great Oregon running back?
The days are moving forward and we are in single digit days away from Oregon football kickoff. With the first game just around the corner, we spoke with running backs coach Jim Mastro, senior running back Tony Brooks-James, and offensive line (centers & guards) coach Alex Mirabal.
Mastro impressed with running back depth
Each back bringing a different skill to the table. Whether it’s speed, quickness, durability, size, the Oregon running backs are versatile, but which one will be see at what times during a game?
“We’re asking them to have a football I.Q. that they haven’t had in the past,” says Mastro. “It’s been a good experience. They are picking it up well and doing some really good things.”
It is still unclear of the depth or who will start as Mastro stated today.
Brooks-James the fastest running back Mastro has coached
When asked about senior Tony Brooks-James and what he brings to the team, Mastro said, “He has never been asked to be an every down back. We don’t want to be in a situation where we are playing four or five guys a game. If he could be that one guy, that would be great. He’s being asked to be a leader and take a bigger role mentally and physically in the offense.”
“I’ve never had one that fast before. That’s a strength. When you can take the ball and any minute go 100, 90 yards, that’s unique. He’s been a great leader and took on the role of trying to be ‘the guy’ and he’s done some really good things.”
Running backs pushing one another
Waiting your turn, patience, is something that senior Tony Brooks-James has waited for for a long time. As a third string behind Royce Freeman and Kani Benoit last season, Brooks-James found another dominant position on special teams. But he feels ready for the load this upcoming season if his name is called.
But it’s the other guys that are also ready…
“We’re all on the same level as far as doing our assignments and stuff like that,” says Brooks-James. “In the meeting room, everyone knows their assignments, but as far as being injured, you’re out and it’s about condition and being in shape. As far as being in shape, you’re a bit behind, but as far as mental game, they’re there.”
A blast from the past with coaches Mirabal, Cristobal
Coaches Mario Cristobal and Alex Mirabal have more in common than their names rhyming. The two have known one another for a very long time.
“I think he was going to be a secret service agent and I was going to be an engineer,” says coach Mirabal. “Somewhere along the line that got lost. I did know this, a guy with his work ethic, with his mindset, with his toughness, with his dedication, was going to be successful in any path of life that he chose. It’s a tremendous blessing to be able to see him in action now as a head football coach again.”