Sky’s the Limit for Former Duck
March 5, 2012, 10:13 am
LaMichael James, as expected, dazzled at the NFL Combine last week, though had harsh words of criticism for himself when he spoke in depth with Chad about his past with the Oregon Ducks, present training for the NFL, and future of where he feels he will fall in the NFL Draft.
Several stopwatches had James running 40 times as quick as 4.42 seconds. He looked faster in drills, displaying a great combination of speed, quickness and balance in all his drills. James easily cut back against the grain in bag drills and lost no momentum. He was complimented by coaches for his pass-catching skills later in the day. Talking with Chad at the Blazer game on Saturday, LaMichael says that he will run again at his Pro Day in Eugene because he knows he can run faster than 4.42. With all of the interviews and voices tugging him every which way, James says that his Pro Day will allow him to focus on one thing: his athleticism.
If more than one running back besides Trent Richardson is chosen in the first round in April’s draft, it might be James, who has worked himself into position. So where does LaMichael think he will end up?
At the combine, James was asked about his preparation. “I’m just getting better each and every day. A lot of strength, and a lot of fundamental stuff. A lot of people can run and jump, but you’ve got to get the fundamental stuff down pat.”
LaMichael teetered between 185-190 during his final year at Oregon, which was “fat” for him, initially, before he busted out for three 200+ yard games after drawing a lot of criticism from the media that his weight gain had adversely affected his speed, despite getting stronger. James tells Chad, “ I’ve gotten a lot stronger, and a lot bigger, too. So I think it’s going to help me as far as being stronger in my lower body half. So I think it’s going to help me out tremendously.
James discussed his workout regime at the combine, too. “Just going out there and lifting weights and getting stronger, I added a little bulk. So it was not just specifically going out there saying I’ve got to add a lot of muscle mass and get bigger just because a scout said so.”
LaMichael is not being considered as an every down back. Most see him as an H-back or a special teams returner. He will even tell you he has been taking a lot more balls to tailor his game to being a more complete player. So, don’t tell LaMichael what he can and can’t do. “I feel like I can do anything. I’ll be an all-around back. You don’t have to take me out on third down. I can run the ball, I can probably throw the ball, too. All special teams, and if they ask me to kick the field goal I can probably do that too.”
Despite winning so many games, LaMichael maybe hasn’t gotten as much hype, with the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, RG3 running a ridiculous 40 time, and the allure of bruising backs that worked in more of a pro style system. So, how does that affect LMJ? “That doesn’t matter to me. Hype doesn’t win football games. If it did, a lot of teams would win a lot of football games. A lot of players would be great players. I think you have to go out there and compete. I’m going to lead the team in effort. That’s what is important to me, not getting hyped up.”
LaMichael used one word to describe his training regime without his fellow Ducks. What is it? And LMJ makes a bold prediction about how Kenjon Barner will do this next season as the #1 back. Check out Chad’s conversation with LMJ to find out!