When former Western Kentucky coach Carlos Locklyn was hired to be in charge of the running backs with the Oregon Ducks, his first point of action was to get in touch with those who came before him. He wanted to talk to the people who made this a coveted position in his eyes; the people who set a standard decades ago, and created a legacy of dominant and successful rushers in Eugene.
The first person on the list was former RB coach Gary Campbell, who stands as the longest-tenured coach in Oregon history, coaching from 1983 to 2016.
Pair of Oregon Ducks listed among ESPN’s 100 greatest RBs in college football history
“For me, the standard when I first got here was to reach out to Coach Campbell,” Locklyn said on Tuesday. “And to reach out to every one of those backs, because that’s the standard. It’s my job to get that room back to that standard.”
When you think about the best rushers to come through Eugene, it’s nearly impossible to find someone who Campbell didn’t get his hands on. Saladin McCullough, Reuben Droughns, Jonathan Stewart, Jeremiah Johnson, LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, Royce Freeman… the list goes on.
“I know there’s other running back coaches that came after Coach Campbell, but to me, from 1983 to 2016, that guy — he’s the standard,” Locklyn said. “And if there’s anybody I want to model myself after, it’s Coach Campbell. He would text me, I would text him, I would text some of the running backs that have been here to let them know that I respect what y’all have done here, and it’s on me to get that room back to the standard.”
It shouldn’t come as a shock that Locklyn took the effort to reach out and form a relationship with some of the stalwarts in Oregon’s history books. If we’ve learned anything about him in the months since his hiring, it’s that…