Dan Lanning details why Ra’Shaad Samples was the right hire at Oregon

Just over a week ago, the news came out that former Oregon Ducks running backs coach Carlos Locklyn was leaving Eugene to take a job with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The timing was unfortunate, as it left the Ducks without an RB coach just as they resumed spring practices following spring break. Talking to head coach Dan Lanning after the move was announced, though, you could feel a sense of calm confidence that his coaching staff would stay afloat.

“I mean, it’s football. It’s the reality,” Lanning said last week. “Transitions give you an opportunity to get better, so that’s our goal. We’re gonna go get better. We’re going to bring somebody in here who can do a really good job with our organization.”

I’d say mission accomplished.

On Tuesday morning, the Ducks officially announced the hire of former Arizona State coach Ra’Shaad Samples, naming him the new RB coach and Assistant Head Coach in Eugene. At ASU, Samples spent a year alongside former Oregon OC Kenny Dillingham for a season as the wide receivers coach, and passing game coordinator. Before that, Samples spent a year in the NFL as the running backs coach for the Los Angeles Rams. He was hired by the Rams at age 27, making him the youngest position coach in NFL history.

While Lanning hasn’t personally worked with Samples prior to his time in Eugene, there are past relationships with others on the staff who played a big part in the hire.

“You always lean on relationships of people that know the guys and there’s several guys on our staff that knew Ra’Shaad,” Lanning said on Tuesday. He’s a guy I knew of that I didn’t get to work with personally, but Will (Stein) worked with him and Drew (Mehringer) worked with him in the past.”

More than just being a very solid position coach who is considered one of the brighter up-and-coming stars in the coaching world, Samples has an elite recruiting track-record in the state of Texas, where Oregon has found a lot of success in the past.

“He’s good at relationships, right? He cares about relationships, and that’s gonna pay off for us in recruiting,” Lanning said. “The pieces that he adds to our program, his experience — even as a young up-and-comer he’s had some great experience — his play as a player and then letting that carry over to his experience the NFL, the multitude of positions that he’s worked with, made him a really great fit for us. Somebody we’re really excited about.”

While Samples was with the team on Tuesday and coaching the RB room, there may be some time before he is fully up to speed and ready to take over that position group as his own. That won’t stop him from diving into the depend and getting the process started.

“I’ve said it here before, you can’t eat an elephant in one bite,” Lanning said. “So he’s gonna learn as quickly as he can. On his flight up, he’s watching installs on the plane. He’s getting ready to roll. It’s gonna be a lot of early mornings and late nights for him right now, but I know he embraces that. And we’ll get him caught up as fast as we can.”

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire