Bucky Irving is a player with bad intentions with the ball in his hands. After leading the Pac-12 in missed tackles a season ago, he’s off to another strong start for Oregon.

Irving has already produced 16 missed tackles in 37 carries, helping him average 8.2 yards per carry through the first 4 games of the season. During Tuesday’s press conference, he was asked where the mentality to punish would-be tacklers comes from.

“I’ve got a mentality that each and every time I’ve got the ball, I will not let the first man bring me down. That’s just, for the people I’ve got back home, that’s the dog mentality that I have each and every time I have the ball,” said Irving. “So, every time I have the ball in my hands, I’m just trying to run hard and just do what I do with the ball.”

Irving also says his coach makes a habit of pointing out that good running backs do not fall backward. It’s something that is now ingrained in Irving’s mind.

“Our coach always says good running backs fall forward. They never really have negative runs. He preaches on that,” Irving explained. “With our coach, he says things so much it gets stuck in your head.”

After his punishing runs, Irving is not shy about letting out his emotions. He says he is simply passionate about football and wants to play for as long as possible.

“It’s just passion. I love the game, I just want to be around the game for as long as I can,” said Irving. “I do not take this game for granted I’ve been doing this my whole life…For certain guys, it’s a different mentality. For me, I just love the game. I just have fun with it.”

After leading Oregon a season ago with 1,058 rushing yards, Irving is back leading the Ducks with 305 yards to start the season. With the injury to running mate Noah Whittington against Colorado, Irving will be leaned on even more as the Ducks wade into the heart of Pac-12 play moving forward.