The spring season for Oregon was relatively un-newsworthy (with the exception of the Bralon Addison injury). And when it comes to spring football, un-newsworthy is typically a good thing. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t standouts.
This week we’re going to take a look at five standouts from spring practices.
No. 2: RB Thomas Tyner
By no means has Tyner secured the starting running back spot for the Ducks. That race, between Tyner and Byron Marshall, will likely go on for months. And with how much the Ducks might run the ball next season, and how much both could be used, there might not be a huge difference in carries between the lead and second back.
However, Tyner had a really big spring for the Ducks. When I spoke with Oregon coach Mark Helfrich at Pac-12 spring meetings in Phoenix a few weeks ago, I asked him about his general thoughts from the spring and the first thing out of his mouth was how Tyner had been really consistent and impressive through the 15 practices.
The Ducks averaged 6.3 yards per rush last season, which was sixth nationally and the best for the Pac-12. They’ll want to keep that average up again in 2014, especially early in the season as the Duck receivers are still getting their feet wet. But where Tyner could help the most is in the open field -- where he has top-end speed and heavy hitting abilities (just ask Dominique Harrison if he has recovered from trying to tackle Tyner in the spring game). Tyner in the open field is a scary proposition for opposing defenses. Over the past four seasons, 19.5 percent of the Ducks’ rushes have gone for 10-plus yards. With the ball in Tyner’s hands early and often, that number could see its five-year high.
There were certainly other running backs that had solid springs (Marshall, included). The run game, as always, will continue to be a strength for the Ducks, but after seeing Tyner this spring and hearing about his progress, it might be an even bigger bright spot for Oregon this fall.
Other spring standouts: