Dan Lanning updates the status of Oregon's Byron Cardwell
Coming into the season, many viewed sophomore running back Byron Cardwell as the favorite to earn the lead job in the Ducks’ backfield. The San Diego native had four carries for 28 yards in the Ducks’ season-opening loss to Georgia, then seven carries for 48 yards and a score in their Week 2 win over Eastern Washington. He hasn’t played since.
Meeting with reporters on Monday to preview the Ducks’ top-10 matchup with UCLA this week, coach Dan Lanning shed some light on Cardwell’s situation.
“Byron’s a guy that’s worked extremely hard and, at some point, it’s about him feeling comfortable with himself being able to step back out there in the field,” Lanning said. “We support him in every way from a medical standpoint in our coaching staff. He’s a great kid. He does everything the right way. And once he feels like he can get out there and compete for us, we welcome him out there to be able to see him on the field for us.”
It’s unclear what has kept Cardwell off the field to this point, but the Ducks’ depth in the backfield has certainly given him plenty of time to work through whatever needs to be worked through.
Oregon has gotten 429 yards and two scores from Bucky Irving at 7.2 yards a carry. Noah Whittington has 336 yards and two scores at 6.5 yards per carry. They’re two of the six most efficient running backs in the Pac-12 so far this season.
The 6-foot, 206-pound Cardwell would no doubt provide some extra juice to the rushing attack, though. He had 417 yards and three scores as a freshman last season, running for 6.2 yards a carry and flashing tremendous potential in a 127-yard effort against Colorado.
In general, Lanning thought the Ducks’ bye week came at an opportune time.
“I think it was needed,” Lanning said. “I think our bye week fell at a perfect time for our guys. We did a good job of staying in rhythm throughout that bye week and keep the timings that we’ve developed on both sides of the ball. But at the same time, it’s needed. That rest and recovery was needed. I think our guys enjoyed it.”
Lanning also said reserve safety Bryan Addison will be “available and ready to roll” after missing the Arizona game. Addison made appearances in each of Oregon’s first five games.
Offensive lineman Steven Jones is nearing a return as well. A 13-game starter last season, Jones opened the season as the team’s starter at right guard. He was injured in the Eastern Washington game and hasn’t played since. In his place, Ryan Walk has moved to left guard and Marcus Harper II has filled in at left guard.
“Steven’s still working through some things,” Lanning said. “Doing more today than he then has.”
So, wait and see on that front.
Oregon hosts UCLA Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT on FOX.