It is the biggest challenge of the season so far for the Oregon Ducks, and it looks as though they will be equipped for battle with Washington. Running back De’Anthony Thomas will play for the Ducks in Seattle, according to a report by The Oregonian‘s John Canzano.
A source from Oregon told Canzano “(Thomas will) give it a try. It’s an ankle so you don’t really know ’til you know.”
Ankles are always tricky to predict, especially for running backs who need to make cuts in the field more often than most players. When you run an offensive style like Oregon’s quick adjustments are key for opening up big plays on slower defenses. An ankle sprain suffered against Colorado last week has left some doubt about the running back’s status. Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has been hesitant this week to say if Thomas would be available.
Even if Thomas does play, the question will be how much of a factor in the offense he is for the Ducks. Will he jump right back in to a leading role to lead the ground game for Oregon, or will his role be reduced. This could all be some gamesmanship as well, although it is highly unlikely Washington practiced this week as though Thomas would not be available.
Oregon’s offense may have been able to survive even if Thomas was unavailable, but going on the road to one of the most hostile environments Oregon will visit this season certainly is easier to manage when you have your best players available.
Thomas has 368 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in four games this season.