by Rob Moseley
Four true freshmen played for the Ducks in their opener Saturday against Nicholls, and as much as Thomas Tyner would have liked to have been the fifth, he understood the discretion from coaches.
Tyner, the heralded running back recruit from Aloha, shook off a mid-August lower leg issue and looked fast and quick in warmups prior to the game. But he never made it off the sideline, due in part to the missed practice time, position coach Gary Campbell said afterward.
“We were just cautious about it,” Tyner said Monday. “We took it day by day, and went from there.”
Tyner told assembled media Monday he participated in some form of practice every day despite being spotted in a walking boot for a few days last month. And he said he’s “getting the hang of” Oregon’s playbook, adding that “there’s some work to do, but for the most part I’ve got it down.”
Campbell said Saturday he expects Tyner to travel to Virginia this weekend, and Tyner reiterated as much today. UO coach Mark Helfrich has said he expects Tyner to be on the field in short order.
However Tyner is able to contribute, he’ll be closely watched by UO fans expecting him to be the Ducks’ next star in the backfield.
“I don’t like to put pressure on myself,” Tyner said. “I’m just going to play the game I play, and do what I do best.”
Tyner said the adjustment from high school, where he set state rushing records, and college has been “a big change.”
“The size of the players, and the speed, it’s a whole different game,” Tyner said. “I definitely had to adjust to it. It took me a little bit, but now I’m getting a lot more comfortable with it.”
It’s been an adjustment socially as well, he said.
“Growing up in Aloha was a big family,” Tyner said. “Now that I’m away from it, it’s a lot different. Adjusting to it takes a while. But I’m liking a lot of guys on the team, and we’re all coming together.”
In particular, Tyner said, starting running back De’Anthony Thomas has helped ease his transition.
“He’s pulled me aside on the sideline and walked me through the plays,” Tyner said. “He’s helped me a lot.”