Familiarity with Kenny Dillingham is helping Ra’Shaad Samples settle in Eugene

After former Oregon Ducks running backs coach Carlos Locklyn departed for Ohio State, the state of one of the Ducks’ most dominant position groups was, for a moment, unclear. But quickly, Oregon hired Ra’Shaad Samples, giving Ducks’ fans the fun offseason surprise of bringing in one of the best young coaches in college football.

Before coming to Oregon, Samples was the wide receivers coach at Arizona State, where he worked under head coach Kenny Dillingham, the Ducks’ former offensive coordinator. After Oregon’s second spring scrimmage on Saturday, Samples spoke to the media for the first time as a member of the Ducks, and he had great things to say about his time under Dillingham.

“Oh, it helped a bunch because there was definitely some crossover between the programs and how we did things,” Samples said. “Kenny was awesome to work for. So, he was good to me too as a head coach but it helped a bunch. I think the transition from Kenny to here made it so much easier.”

Since Dillingham took the Arizona State job in 2022, he’s maintained strong connections with Oregon football. After the Ducks crushed the Sun Devils in Tempe in November 2023, Dillingham showed encouragement for his former team, urging them to go win the national championship.

And, after the news broke that Samples would be taking the RB coach job at Oregon, Dillingham gave congratulations to Samples on Twitter.

The Oregon Ducks RB room looks loaded for 2024, with veterans Jordan James, Noah Whittington, and Jayden Limar returning, and with newcomers like Jay Harris coming in. There is bound to be a period of adjustment for the RBs as they transition from Locklyn to Samples, but so far, Samples seems primed to be a great leader of the Ducks RBs.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire