As questions surrounding the competition at the starting running back position for next season continue to float around, running backs coach Gary Campbell had a little time after practice this afternoon to give some of his insight into Byron Marshall’s individual development over this past year as well as his growth as a leader. Campbell just returned to fall camp after taking some time off due to personal family concerns.
Campbell started off the conversation by talking about why Oregon decided to initially pursue Marshall.
“He’s a great kid from a great family and I just knew he was the kind of guy that would fit into our offense and our program,” Campbell said.
He then dove into the specific areas that Marshall has grown both as a player and person.
“The biggest thing is his progress here in his sophomore because last year he didn’t understand the pace, he wasn’t in great condition and didn’t have the stamina,” Campbell said. “I think he realized that was something that had to improve if he was going to be one of the main ball carriers on this offense and he came to camp prepared this year.”
“I think he’s mentally matured a lot,” Campbell said. “He knows the offense, which makes it a lot easier for any new athlete coming into the program. Once you learn the offense, then your talents can come out. Prior to that, you’re feeling your way around, thinking so much that you don’t do things well physically.”
“So I think just being in the program and getting some playing time from last year has helped him to come in with more confidence and that’s another key,” Campbell said. “When a guy is confident, then his talents show because he’s got the feel for everything and he can do the things that he’s good at athletically.”
Developing Leadership Qualities
“I’m really pleased at how he’s becoming a leader even though it’s only his second year here,” Campbell said. “That confidence is so vital and he’s helping other guys along. But the thing I see the most out of him is that he knows what he has to do to improve himself and he’s working on that hard. He’s trying to bring other guys along too, but he knows he’s still got a ways to go, too.”
Chip on his shoulder
“Not at all,” Campbell said in regards to Marshall playing with a “chip on his shoulder.” “He’s a very humble guy. He just plays his tail off and I know his philosophy is ‘I’m going to be the best that I can be and whatever happens, happens.’”
“Take a Knee” is The Emerald’s wrap-up of the day’s events from Oregon’s athletic facilities following every Ducks football practice according to players, coaches and other officials.