The Oklahoma Sooners released their expected rotation for the 2011 season recently and a name is missing that is causing many fans to scratch their heads. When scanning the list, the starting running backs jump out at you: Brennan Clay and Jonathan Miller.
Sophomore running back, and current preseason All-Big 12 player Roy Finch, is not listed in the rotation. He is also absent from the entire depth chart, including special teams. To expand on why this is shocking, look at the 2010 season.
DeMarco Murray came into the year entrenched as the starter. As the season progressed, Murray began to break numerous Oklahoma records, including the all-time rushing touchdown title, held since the late ’60s by Hall of Famer Steve Owens. However, as the season wore on, Murray found himself losing carries to a freshman phenom named Roy Finch. By the end of the year, the two were splitting carries and Finch was getting more attention down the line.
Now, he is listed behind two other sophomores, Brennan Clay and Jonathan Miller.
In 2010, Brennan Clay saw action as both a tail back and a kick returner. His best game was against Colorado, when he carried the ball 12 times for 38 yards. He had 49 yards against Iowa State on less carries. Now, a lot is expected of Clay, who came to OU ranked as the No. 2 all-purpose running back according to Rivals. He finished his freshman year with only 127 net rushing yards and no touchdowns.
Jonathan Miller, another sophomore, suffered a season-ending injury in 2009 and redshirted in 2010. In his freshman season, Miller ran 18 times for 130 yards and one touchdown. The 7.1 yards per carry is something Sooners fans can get excited about.
However, Roy Finch came into Oklahoma as the No. 4 all-purpose back according to Rivals and finished his freshman year with 398 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The yardage was second only to DeMarco Murray and fans expected the speedy runner to take the lead role in 2011.
Why he is absent from the depth chart is a mystery right now but the fact is that Finch is only 5-7, 166 lbs. While he is explosive and exciting, he is not built to take punishment. He missed five games in 2010 due to injury and maybe head coach Bob Stoops wants to use the speedster as a change-of-pace back.
Roy Finch may be the most exciting running back on the team, but maybe the starting position is not the best place for him.
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