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LaMichael James Injury Could Simplify Defensive Gameplan For ASU Defense Vs. Oregon

The injury to Oregon Ducks tailback LaMichael James has not been confirmed to take him out of action for Saturday night's game against the Arizona St. Sun Devils. But hints from players like Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas seem to indicate that James won't be a factor, and that ASU can game plan for other parts of the offense.

The focus turns to Kenjon Barner. Barner is speedy as well, but doesn't quite have the instinct on the football field that makes James so deadly. But if Oregon blocks well, you'll hardly tell the difference when he gets into open field. Then there's De'Anthony Thomas. Thomas has proven he can play quite well in open space, but he isn't quite as suited to be an inside runner.

The X-factor could be Tra Carson. Brought into be the next power back for Oregon, he could be the player that helps bring Oregon that added dimension that busts open defenses. Carson, Barner, and the Black Mamba won't be quite the same without James carrying the load, but the dropoff shouldn't be too considerable.

Thomas has yet to prove to be an elite passer this season, so the Oregon rush attack must open things up against an ASU run defense that has generally kept their opponents in check. Otherwise Darron will have to throw a lot, and there's no guarantee that'll be enough to lead the Ducks to victory.

For more on the game from an ASU perspective, House of Sparky should be your destination. For more from the Oregon side of things, go to Addicted to Quack.