Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood has deep roots within the Eugene community. Greatwood, a former Churchill High School and University of Oregon alumni, is currently in his third coaching stint with his alma matter and is in charge of the Ducks’ running game.
After moving on from Churchill as a player, Greatwood excelled at the University of Oregon. He completed his collegiate playing days with an appearance in the 1980 Hula Bowl and was also awarded the Bob Officer Award, which is given to an Oregon player who makes a major contribution to the program while overcoming physical adversity. Greatwood was eventually signed to a free agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
Greatwood’s first coaching opportunity came as a graduate assistant with the Ducks in 1980. He held that position for two years before taking on a larger role as OL/TE coach for the 1982 and 1983 seasons.
After taking some time off from coaching, Greatwood returned to the Ducks in 1994 for one year as the OL coach. In 1995 and 1996 Greatwood was a coach with the St Louis Rams, first as coach of the tight ends and then the o-line. He returned to coach the Maryland Terrapin’s o-linemen for 1997 and the USC Trojans for 1998-99.
From 2000-2004, Greatwood returned back to Eugene to coach the Ducks’ defensive line, the first and only time in his coaching career that he was not involved with the offense. In 2005, he took back his old job of offensive line coach, the position he still holds.
With the promotion of Chip Kelly to head coach in 2009, Greatwood took over as running game coordinator. He has overseen running backs like LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas during his past four years.
During Greatwood’s time in charge of the running game, Oregon has had unbelievable productivity. Between 2009-2012, the Ducks as a team have totaled 15,020 yards of rushing (3,755 yards per season) and have topped 4,000 yards each of the last two seasons.
Greatwood, along with new head coach Mark Helfrich, offensive coordinator Scott Frost and running backs coach Gary Campbell will need to figure out who will take over the reigns as starting running back. Will it be Thomas, Byron Marshall or maybe a sleeper like incoming freshman Thomas Tyner?
With Barner gone, will the Ducks be able to eclipse 4,000 yards again? Oregon has had a 1,000-yard rusher each year since 2007, but will the streak come to an end with the absence of a feature back? There will be a lot of questions about the running game going into the year.
On the offensive line, the Ducks will also be without OG Kyle Long, OT Carson York, OG Nick Cody and a few key reserves who graduated this offseason. Oregon will have its biggest turnover on the o-line since the 2009 season when the Ducks replaced three starters.