LaMichael James is a star by any account. In two years at the University of Oregon, the sophomore has amassed over 3,200 yards and scored 35 touchdowns on the ground.
Running backs coach Gary Campbell has coached his share of stars over the years for the Ducks and knows talent when he sees it. Jonathan Stewart, Reuben Droughns, LeGarrette Blount and Maurice Morris are some of the recent ones who come to mind. Duck Sports Authority caught up with the respected veteran coach to get his assessment of Oregon's starting tailback.
Duck Sports Authority: Coach, give us your overall assessment of LaMichael James as a running back.
Gary Campbell: He's got great speed, great cutting ability and he can stop on a dime. He's strong enough to break tackles. He's got power, as much as some of the bigger guys who have played for me. He's as fast as or faster than any of the speedier guys. He's a hybrid.
DSA: Coming out of high school, what did you still need to learn about LaMichael?
GC: I was concerned when he came in whether or not he was going to hold up physically because he was a smaller guy. As soon as he got here and got him through a couple practices, I saw how physically he could run, and that concern soon passed. I didn't have any worries about him after we got him on campus and saw him run the ball a few times and take some contact at this level.
DSA: Seeing his high school film he was more of an elusive, fast guy. How did he develop this physical side.
GC: He was a little bit leery at first about running downhill. I talked to him about it. I told him 'LaMIke, I've seen you take guys on, I know you can run downhill. Let's see you run with some physical authority.' He said 'OK Coach' so he started to take guys on. But I am surprised at how physical he actually became.
DSA: Where does LMJ fit into the spectrum of physical compared to other guys you have coached here?
GC: He's as tough as any guy I've ever had. Probably the toughest guy I ever had was Rueben Droughns. Obviously LaMichael doesn't have that physical stature, but as far as pound-for-pound, he's as tough as that guy. He'll go out there, I don't care how beat up he is, he's willing to get out there and practice. He wants to be the guy to get out there and help us to win the game.
DSA: Coach, so much speculation is out there about LaMichael being so good that he'll leave early. Anything you care to say about that?
GC: I'll talk to him when it's over to see how feeling about it. He doesn't want to talk about it right now. I don't try to talk to him about it right now.
DSA would like to thank Coach Campbell for his analysis. Stay tuned to Duck Sports Authority for year-round coverage of Oregon sports and recruiting.