Ducks game plan taps No. 2 tailback
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Allan Amundson will spell Onterrio Smith against Idaho, PSU
EUGENE Ñ Gary Campbell finds himself caught between a rock (Onterrio Smith) and a hard place (giving Smith a rest).
'You'd like to play four or five guys,' says Campbell, the Oregon running backs coach, as the Ducks prepare to play Idaho on Saturday at Autzen Stadium. 'But it's tough to do, especially when you have one guy who wants to get 200 yards.'
Indeed, Smith wants his yardage, but not at the expense of the team, he insists. He has set the goal of 2,000 yards rushing, which still seems possible, even though Smith only has 248 yards through two games. It has taken a whopping 63 carries to get the yards, and he has taken physical punishment. In fact, he sat out some practices this week to rest and also nurse a sore toe.
Not many of the 248 have been so-called 'easy' yards. Smith has had trouble breaking tackles and getting into the clear. Hence, his per carry average of 3.9 yards.
Coach Mike Bellotti plans to split time between Smith and No. 2 tailback Allan Amundson on Saturday against the Vandals, who have given up more than 1,000 yards offense in two games.
In the last game, neither Amundson nor third-stringer Terrence Whitehead carried the ball. The Ducks needed Smith to run between the tackles against Fresno State, and coaches did not want to take him out because of it.
Bellotti doesn't know whether he can count on Amundson or Whitehead Ñ or Ryan Shaw or Kenny Washington Ñ in Pacific-10 Conference games, but he hopes to find out Saturday and next week against Portland State. On paper, the Ducks should control both games and play every player.
'I'd love to see Onterrio get big yardage, but if he's going to do that, he better do it early,' Campbell says. 'I'm not going to leave him in the game and take a chance on (him) getting hurt just for the chance to get 200 or 300 yards. I'm not going to leave him in É just to pad stats.'
The 5-9, 186-pound Amundson, a senior, has battled injuries in his career. Already the fastest back with 'great balance,' Campbell says, Amundson improved his vision and interior running in spring ball.
'Any player wants to play as much as they can,' Amundson says. 'If I don't get in, that's fine. I'm not terribly upset Ñ maybe a little disappointed. I'm happy with kickoff returns and try to make the best of the (tailback) chance I get.'
Whereas Amundson excels on the perimeter, the Ducks get both speed and power from Whitehead, a true freshman, who sat out practices this week because of an eligibility issue.