As Duce Staley transitions into his new role as the running backs coach under head coach Chip Kelly, one thing is for certain - the Eagles running backs should prepare to get the ball a lot.
"They should be licking their chops," Staley said.
While most of the focus since Kelly's arrival is who will be the team's signal caller, fans should focus on who will be carrying the ball out of the backfield. Look at Oregon's rushing numbers over the past three seasons.
2012 - Oregon ranked fourth in the nation in total rushing yards (4,098), first in yards per carry (5.97), tied for first in rushing touchdowns (48) and third in rushing yards per game (315.2). Individually, three rushers gained over 700 yards on the ground. Running back Kenjon Barner was fourth in the nation in rushing yards per game (135.9).
2011 - The Ducks ranked first in total rushing yards (4,189), first in yards per carry (6.66), fourth in rushing touchdowns (42) and fifth in rushing yards per game (299.21). LaMichael James was second in the nation in total rushing yards (1,805) and first in yards per game (150.4).
2010 - Different season, same results. Oregon ranked fifth in total yards on the ground (3,739), fourth in yards per carry (5.93), tied for third in rushing touchdowns (42) and fourth in rushing yards per game (287.62). Once again, James was focal point of the offense as he led the nation in total rushing yards (1,731) and yards per game (144.2).
And it's not as if the cupboard is bare when it comes to the talent at running back for the Eagles starting with All-Pro LeSean McCoy.
"He can be the best to play the game," Staley said.
In 2011, McCoy earned his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro nod as he gained 1,309 yards on the ground and scored a franchise record 20 total touchdowns and 17 rushing touchdowns. Last season, Bryce Brown notched the two highest single-game rushing totals by a rookie in franchise history.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will certainly find room for two talented backs.
"If you have guys who are different, you can use them in different ways, and you try to play to their strengths. I think that's important," Shurmur said.
As one of the most prolific backs in franchise history, Staley knows what it takes to succeed in the NFL. Now, he'll help tutor and mold the careers of the backs who will get a chance to thrive in Chip Kelly's offense.
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