March 31, 2012

Pre-spring analysis: RB

Pre-spring unit analysis: RB

The Ducks entered the 2011 season in better shape than any other team in the country. LaMichael James, a Heisman candidate as a sophomore, was returning for his junior year. Backup Kenjon Barner would start for most teams in the county, and he too would be back. The big question mark going into the year for Gary Campbell: Would blue-chip recruit De'Anthony Thomas live up to his billing?

2011 unit grade: 3.45 (0 to 4) The running back group was the highest rated by a significant margin in 2011. Out of the 14 games last year, tough-grading Duck Sports Authority gave the unit a perfect 4.0 for four different games. Take out the LSU game and their unit grade was a gaudy 3.61.

2011 improvement trend: 8 of 8 While still a positively sloped trend line, it was the shallowest of the other units included in this series. The reason for this is obvious. Almost every snap went to an excellent, veteran football player who was not learning on the job as the season progressed.

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