Oregon’s Kenjon Barner Barrels His Way Into The Heisman Trophy Race

November 7, 2012 – 8:15 am by Eric Schmoldt

Kenjon Barner didn’t realize just what kind of night he had put up until someone told him after his Oregon Ducks beat USC on Saturday night. The Ducks’ running back rushed into the record books with an Oregon record 321 rushing yards and a Pac-12 tying five rushing touchdowns.

Kenjon Barner joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss watching film of his big game Sunday, why he chose to go to Oregon, spending time behind LaMichael James before getting his shot, coming to Oregon as a defensive back, his statistical goals and his hopes to be involved with the FBI.

When you watch the game film against USC, how enjoyable is it for you?:

“It hasn’t even really set in yet. I’m the type of guy it takes a while for things to set in. I think it’s good that way, so you don’t really get caught up in it. I know that it was, not only for myself, but it was a tremendous accomplishment for our team.”

Did USC offer you a scholarship?:

“They came on after Oregon offered me, after I had already committed to Oregon. I started talking to a couple coaches, but there was never an offer on the table. I wanted to get out of California anyway, so it was the best move for me to leave.”

Why’d you want to get away?:

“To get away from my parents, as bad as that sounds. … I needed to get away so I could mature and so I could grow so I wouldn’t be so dependent on them. I needed to leave the nest, so to say. … My mom didn’t want me to leave at all. She said, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to go to school out in California?’ There’s a community college … and she said, ‘You could go to RCC.’”

At what point did you realize what kind of game you had on Saturday?:

“At the end of the game. I wasn’t really sure what I ran for or anything like that. Someone came up to me and said, ‘You rushed for 320 yards.’ I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’”

How much did it benefit for you to spend time behind LaMichael James instead of just playing right away?:

“It was tremendous. I couldn’t have scripted this any better. The way that I was used in the past years, I couldn’t have been asked to be used better. It allowed me to grow; it allowed me to mature, not only as a man, but as a football player as well. So, being able to watch LaMichael and see him go through things that he went through and how he reacted to different situations and how he ran the ball, I learned a lot from him.”

You weren’t even a running back when you got there. You were a DB, right?:

“That is correct. I don’t know what they saw in my running back skills, but they brought me here as a DB.”

If you played a little bit of defense, it might raise your Heisman stock:

“I have not [asked Coach Kelly to do that].” Do you want us to ask?: “Yeah, you do that for me. We’ll see how it goes.”

Do you think the Oregon offense would work in the NFL?:

“I think so. You see spots of it last year with Tim Tebow when he was out in Denver. But their coaches aren’t Coach Kelly. They don’t have the mind that Coach Kelly has. I’ve always said that Coach Kelly is a genius when it comes to football. … I feel like when you have the proper players, and then you put Coach Kelly’s mind behind those players, anything is possible.”

What are your statistical goals?:

“My goals are high. My goals are extremely high.” Would you be satisfied with 2,000 yards?: “I’d be satisfied. Let’s use that. I’d be OK with that.”

You’re a criminology major. What are you going to do with that?:

“I want to be involved with the FBI. I’ve always been intrigued by that. It’s been years now that I find myself watching Criminal Minds, CSI, all those different shows, First 48. There’s something about it that keeps me extremely interested. It’s kind of a competitive field. … Me being a competitor and playing sports all my life, I feel like that’s the perfect thing for me to go into.”

Listen to Kenjon Barner on The Dan Patrick Show here (Interview begins at 14:00)

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