EUGENE, Ore. – At the half way point of spring practice, running back depth continues to be a concern for Oregon.
Senior Kenjon Barner says he's ready to step into the starting role and be the Ducks’ primary ball carrier. Last season he rushed for 78.2 yards per game as a back-up.
Despite his new role, Barner said this spring is business as usual.
"Spring ball is not about the depth chart, it's more about getting back to the basics," said Barner. "You know getting back to what we do best, play Oregon football. I don't really look at it any differently."
Behind Barner, there are a lot of question marks.
Earlier this spring, head coach Chip Kelly said sophomore De’Anthony Thomas will see more carries. There is also walk-on Ayele Ford who rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns in 2011. Sophomore Kenny Bassett and redshirt freshman Antwan Baker are also in the mix.
"We've all been getting equal reps," said Barner. "Just taking reps with the ones and twos and rotating. We'll have to wait until the season or fall camp to see how that goes."
As for the defense, despite losing two starting linebackers, the Ducks have considerable depth coming back this season.
The group includes likely starters Kiko Alonso, Boseko Lokombo and Michael Clay, who is coming off a monster junior season.
Clay was second on the team with 102 tackles last year, and this season Chip Kelly is expecting even more.
"He's just one of those kids," said Kelly. "He was never a freshman. He had a maturity to him and a sense to him. He's certainly going to be our leader on the defensive side of the ball.
"If he keeps progressing like the way he is right now, he's going to have a great senior season."
Click on the video tabs below to watch more from the Ducks.