Jordan James opens up about working with Ra’Shaad Samples after Locklyn’s departure

It’s never easy for a player when their position coach takes off for another job opportunity elsewhere in the nation, but it may be a more difficult process to go through when said position coach leaves midway through the season, whether that be in the spring or the fall.

That’s something that the Oregon Ducks running back room has had to deal with over the past few weeks, with former RB coach Carlos Locklyn leaving to take a job with the Ohio State Buckeyes. The move took place the day before Oregon returned to spring camp following their spring break period, so the backs in the room were left without some stability for a short period of time.

Fortunately, head coach Dan Lanning was able to act quickly and make a great hire, bringing in Ra’Shaad Samples from the Arizona State Sun Devils. Samples spent time previously as an RB coach for the Los Angeles Rams, and is considered one of the rising stars in the coaching game.

While the hire is encouraging, the players in that room have still had to deal with the transition phase, going from one coach to another in short order.

“We have to work through it,” Oregon RB Jordan James said on Tuesday after practice, “Obviously, an unexpected loss of Coach Lock, but I think we’ve done a great job just within ourselves, holding each other accountable and doing the things were supposed to do while that process happened.”

James stands alongside Noah Whittington as the two prominent backs in the Oregon offense, while both Jay Harris and Jayden Limar will vie for larger roles this offseason as well. This will be James’ third year in Eugene, while Whitting also acts as a veteran at the position.

While the position went through the changes over the past few weeks, it has been their leadership that helped the transition.

“I think it’s important to just have some structure,” James said, “Obviously we didn’t have that when we were going through the process of finding a coach. But you know, like I said, we’ve done a great job. The whole room does a great job of holding us accountable and doing the things we’re supposed to do, regardless of the situation.”

As far as Samples goes, there is some excitement about what he brings to the table, both in his ability to develop players and recruit out on the trail as well. While he is still getting caught up on everything in Eugene, his presence has been felt early on.

“He knows what he’s talking about,” James said. “He’s gonna help us win games. He’s gonna help us get better at every aspect of our game.”

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire