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Oregon Football

Spring Preview: Running Backs

February 28, 2019

This season Jim Mastro will have a lot of guys vying for one football behind Justin Herbert. Last year the running backs were dominantly led by CJ Verdell and Travis Dye. Both put up solid numbers and were a key part of the run game for Oregon.

They both return with Oregon also bring in more talent in Jayvaun Wilson and Sean Dollars.

We started with our preview of the quarterback earlier this week which is one of the easiest positions to preview. There’s a clear starter and a pretty clear field behind it. There’s also not very many bodies to go over.

Running back is a much different group however. Let’s begin with the starter and work our way down from there.

The Starter: CJ Verdell

I don’t know that anyone will take over his starting job. I do believe there will be other runners eating up some of the carries, but not taking over the starting role from Verdell.

The goal for Verdell this year will be able to keep him fresh and hopefully for the Ducks to be able to block out of the pistol a bit better. Jim Mastro can coach them to get there, but it will be a matter of execution. 

Verdell will also have another year of conditioning in the strength program which should help him gain those tough yards this season.

The Backup (s): Darrian Felix, Travis Dye, Cyrus Habibi-Likio, Jayvaun Wilson

These are the guys I think will get heavy carries this season behind Verdell. Felix was hurt last season and would have had a bigger role if he were not hurt. The Ducks are pretty excited about his overall ability and I think he’s a guy to really watch coming into the season.

Travis Dye got some good run last season as well. While he’s undersized, he runs incredibly hard for a guy his size. Once he gets a crease he has enough speed to hit the next level in a hurry.

Cyrus Habibi-Likio got a lot of run at the goal line early in the season. His carries dwindled towards the end of the season however. Will that be impacted by the addition of Jayvaun Wilson or will CHL get back to his ‘TD Machine’ ways?

Jayvaun Wilson is the guy coming to the scene that might have the chance to make an impact as well. I know the staff is really high on his ability along with the fact he’s definitely a bigger back. I don’t envision him starting or taking even the most carries from this group, but he’ll be a factor, likely closer to the end zone and in short yardage situations.

The Freshman: Sean Dollars

With the backfield already pretty crowded, I’m not sure Dollars will have much of a role this season. Which is no slight to his ability. This is actually a good thing for him.

Dollars will be brought along with the veterans and learn the offense along the way. He’s a real threat to catch passes and run between the tackles if needed. And Dollars has the overall ability to take one to the house from anywhere. 

Again, there are a lot of hands already vying for one football. It won’t be a bad thing if Dollars is kept on ice this season and developed for the future. 

Tags: Football, Oregon
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