The Oregon Ducks under veteran RB coach Gary Campbell seem to send all their starting tailbacks to the NFL. For the 2011 season, the Ducks are loaded three-deep with that type of quality at the position.
In 2011 Duck fans got to see plenty of LaMichael James, one of the Heisman Trophy finalists as a sophomore. They also got to see gifted athlete Kenjon Barner, who backed up James while the Duck running game didn't miss a beat. Coming off his redshirt year to join this stunningly talented group is heralded freshman Lache Seastrunk.
Duck Sports Authority caught up with Coach Campbell to get his early spring impressions of the former five-star recruit, now excelling as the third-string tailback for the Oregon Ducks.
Duck Sports Authority: Coach, Lache Seastrunk looked all right today. What are your impressions of him so far?
Gary Campbell: The good thing is he knows where to line up, he knows the plays. I'm really impressed with him.
Duck Sports Authority: How impressed are we talking here?
Gary Campbell: I'm not saying this guy has come out and is going to be the best back we've had or anything. But he impressed me because I didn't think he would do as well as he did, based on last year.
Duck Sports Authority: What has been better this year for him?
Gary Campbell: Knowing what to do, doing it at full speed, not having to be told where to line up and all those things that you have to tell freshman. Last year I thought it was taking him a long time to pick up what I thought were simple things. He came out today and did some of those things I was asking him to do last fall that couldn't seem to get done. That impressed me.
Duck Sports Authority: Yeah when he was in team stuff it took a bit of your time.
Gary Campbell: I thought I was going to come out here and have to line him up all day and tell him what the play was. He did really well.
Duck Sports Authority: One thing I have noticed early here with Lache is the defense has been taking some bad angles with him sometimes. Like they need to adjust to his speed. What kind of speed does Lache have compared to others?
Gary Campbell: He's got a whole lot of speed. He's faster than some, I don't know. In this backfield he's probably the second fastest. LaMichael is the fastest. Lache may be the second fastest, but Kenjon is fast too people should remember. Those three are all sub-4.4 guys.
Duck Sports Authority: Even with no contact it was nice to see north-south running out of Lache.
Gary Campbell: That's the thing with Lache. I'm trying to get Lache to run up the field. If there is any kind of congestion in there, he's so used to using his speed all through high school he wants to bounce it out or reverse the field and do all those kind of things that you can do when you are the best athlete on the field
Duck Sports Authority: or in the county
Gary Campbell: or the State. He went back to that a couple times today but for the most part he did what we want him to do. So yes, I was pleasantly surprised at the way he handled practice and the things we put in for today. 100% better than he was last year at this time. First day last year, he couldn't line up. He didn't know the plays. He didn't know how to get into position to run a play. He didn't know which direction to go. Today we even made some changes from last year and he was good with those.
Duck Sports Authority: So kind of sounds like knowing the playbook is allowing him to access his speed.
Gary Campbell: Exactly, A.J. Last year he needed a lot of time to think. By the time the play was running he was still trying to figure out 'what am I supposed to do?' Now he just hops right in there and looks kind of like a veteran.
Duck Sports Authority will continue to monitor the running backs and check in with Coach Campbell again later this spring to get an update on all his current protégés.