Originally posted on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 10/17/13
Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James were great backs at Oregon, but neither has found much success yet as a pro. In fact of the Kelly-era Duck running backs, the most successful so far is LeGarrette Blount. In an interview today with Comcast Sports News Bay Area report Matt Maiocco, James says that while he's frustrated over a lack of playing time following a recent knee sprain, he knows he has to keep working:  “Oh, yeah, it’s very difficult,” James told CSNBayArea.com on Wednesday. “I don’t think I’d be a competitor if I said I’m happy to be sitting on the sideline every week. I’m confident. I think I’m a good player, and I can play with anybody. At times, it gets bothering. But I have to suck it up and keep getting better.” A long road in a different game: James gets instruction from 49er running backs coach Tom Rathman, rookie minicamp in 2012. Right now the Ducks all-time career leader in rushing only suits up when the team needs three running backs for a game. He rushed for 5,082 yards and 53 touchdowns at Oregon, 6.6 yards a carry. In one and a quarter seasons as a pro he has 34 carries, 156 yards and has never scored a touchdown.   The 5-9, 195-lb. running back admitted that he's really not sure what his role is on the team right now, but he vows to be ready when he gets another opportunity. He's been on the inactive squad for the last two weeks.   It's tougher for small, fast players to make it in the NFL, because the linebackers are 250 to 260 and run like cornerbacks. Marcus Mariota will have a similar physical adjustment in the pro game. Oregon's best chance for pronounced offensive success in the NFL among the graduates of its prolific spread offense might be Bralon Addison and Thomas Tyner. Center Hroniss Grasu should have a solid career at the next level also.
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