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Oregon's Freshmen Running Backs Continue to Impress in Fall Camp

After Verdell and Dye, Oregon’s young running backs look to step up to help bring depth.

Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead spoke to the media after practice last week and talked multiple times about some of the young running backs Oregon has right now. With the transfer of Cyrus Habibi-Likio and the injury to Sean Dollars, there is a spot for some playing time.

The two true Freshmen running backs in Seven McGee and Byron Cardwell are both intriguing options to what Moorhead is trying to do with his offense. So far he's liking the versatility he's seen with McGee.

“I love that kid, he’s excited about football, appreciative to be here every day,” Moorhead said with a smile. “Incredibly talented, Coach Mastro does a great job teaching him and developing. But I think he’s very dynamic, very explosive, very fast, and does a great job catching the football. He’s had a very good camp so far and I think he's got an incredibly high ceiling. Great kid to be around too!”

Already more than halfway through fall camp, it’s time to evaluate players on where they are and as for all of the young running backs, they all seem to be in different places.

“A ton of depth overall, Coach Mastro does an unbelievable job with the older guys,” Moorhead said. “It’s good to see Trey (Benson) get back in the fold. But it’s like a neat little one-two punch with Byron and Seven. They’re a little different style of runner, bring a little bit different to the table. But there’s a lot of very high ceilings there and excited about those guys' potential.”

It sounds like it’s going to be a little bit before McGee and Cardwell see the field. While Moorhead loves the talent, there’s more to it than just that.

“I think it'd be a bit speculative at this point,” Moorhead said of the freshmen backs contributing in a game this season. “From a talent standpoint absolutely, but it’s different when you’re out there where the whistle blows and you can really start to play. When you’re in there (Autzen) and there’s no lifeguard on duty and there's no do-overs.”

Now two weeks into fall camp, everything in the offense should be installed by now and it’s time to start looking at an organizational chart. Moorhead said he's looking for refinement before the season starts in just 12 days.

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“Just a continued development of the offensive unit relative to their understanding of the scheme of how hard they play and the execution on the field," he said. "So you just want to see, for particularly the young guys not just what they’re doing but how they’re doing it. Then the order of guys just taking it to a different level.”

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