When a team boasts as much talent as Oregon, some players are bound to get overlooked. It's just unlikely that the Pac-12's leading returning rusher is among them.
Ducks tailback Byron Marshall was a key part of Oregon's offense as a sophomore, rushing for 1,038 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall despite missing nearly two full games with an ankle injury. He didn't get much national press behind star-studded teammates Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas, but that could change in 2014.
Marshall came on strong in the middle of last season, especially during a three-game stretch against Washington, Washington State and UCLA. Marshall reeled off 431 yards and eight touchdowns in those contests, including a 40-yard score against the Bruins.
Starting with Stanford's 26-20 win over Oregon on Nov. 7, however, Marshall's performance declined. He averaged just 4.2 yards per carry, registered 159 total yards and scored just two touchdowns during the season's final five games. Of course, he sat out the Ducks' victory over Oregon State and missed most of their loss to Arizona.
This spring Marshall has shown flashes of game-breaking ability. Coaches have used Marshall and fellow back Thomas Tyner as receivers in certain situations.
However coaches choose to use Marshall, he says his production will be a reflection of his work ethic.
“It’s coming out here and working,” Marshall told GoDucks.com. “You’ve got to work in the weight room, that one extra rep. You’ve got to come back at night, when no one else is in (the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex). You’ve got to be out here when no one else is here.
“All the work that you do with the team is fine; everyone does work with their team. But I think greatness comes for the people who do extra, and you’ve got to find the extra time to do extra work.”
Marshall hopes that work ethic will pay off in the fall. Until then, he'll keep having fun off the field, like when he filmed friends doing donuts during a Eugene snowstorm last December.