EUGENE – Sam Kamp is a new man. Again.
This time Oregon’s junior defensive lineman is of the 287-pound variety.
It's new territory for Kamp, a former three-star recruit out of Mesa, Ariz., who has been shuffled around the defensive line numerous times.
Drop end. Defensive end. Now nose guard.
It appears this latest change could be the permanent move. The Ducks are looking for depth in the middle of their defense.
Kamp is going to be one of those players relied upon to deliver strong minutes inside for a defense that has lost an enormous amount of talent over the past two years.
After searching for his fit on the team, Kamp is ready for an expanded role.
“It takes some guys longer to develop and for me it took me an extra year, or so,” Kamp said following a recent spring practice. “Now that I need to step up, I’m going to do as much as I can as far as communication goes and trying to be a leader on the field with enthusiasm and just hard work.”
Kamp came to Oregon listed at 6-foot-5, 237 pounds. He played drop end at that weight before moving up to 260 pounds in order to play defensive end.
Now gone are several impact interior defensive linemen. So Kamp bulked up in hopes of claiming a consistent role in Oregon’s rotation. Getting used to the weight, however, has been a challenge.
“It’s hard to get used to because it’s like throwing on a vest and then starting to run with it, especially with the way we practice,” he said. “We’re so fast, we’re moving all the time. It’s hard to work with but as I get used to it, I get better at moving my body.”
Juniors DeForest Buckner, Alex Balducci and Arik Armstead have the inside track to start in Oregon’s 3-4 defense.
But the Ducks like to rotate players in order to remain fresh. That’s where Kamp comes in.
Defensive coordinator Don Pellum in January mentioned Kamp as a potential impact player when the veteran coach was introduced as the new defensive play caller.
Last week he reiterated those sentiments, stating that Kamp will likely be a rotation guy that will play a vital role while not providing a drop off from the starters.
“I think Sam Kamp is a nice addition to the front,” Pellum said. “You haven’t heard a lot of Sam Kamp, his name called a lot, but he’s played the past two years. Put on weight. Bulked up. Cerebral…I think Sam is going to play some valuable minutes for us.”
Oregon offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone said Kamp has adapted quite well to his new role.
“He’s probably the guy on the defensive line who has put on the most weight and he carries it really well,” Johnstone said. “He’s really active with his hands and he’s doing everything, from my point of view, that the coaches are asking of him right now…He knows the defense back and forth.”
That knowledge of the schemes has helped Kamp adapt to a position that has grown on him.
“Now that I’m playing nose I’m starting to like it a lot,” he said. “There’s more versatility to it. I’m closer to the ball at all times.”
Kamp had 10 tackles last year and a handful in 2012. So he won’t be a stranger to game action.
“I know how it is to be out there,” he said. “I know the excitement of the game. I’ve gotten used to the speed and the crowd and the loudness and the pressure. So I don’t see any problems going into this year. It’s going to be a fun one, for sure.”