Oklahoma is deep and talented at running back. So much so that guys are being reassigned and are transferring out. When the preseason depth chart was released last week it was confirmed that Mossis Madu was being moved from running back to receiver and then while in Dallas for the Sooner Caravan Tour, Bob Stoops confirmed that running back Justin Johnson would be leaving.
"Right now we anticipate him transferring, which is fine," Stoops said. "We'll give him a full release and wish him the best. We wish him the best. Certain guys seek certain things and he feels that's best for him. We want it for him as well."
Johnson was a highly touted running back coming in to Norman. Scout had him as the nation’s second rated running back and he was a U.S. Army All-American coming out of high school. However, Johnson wasn’t able to move past the fourth spot on Oklahoma’s depth chart and apparently wasn’t patient enough to wait around for some of the older guys to move on, choosing to play at Abilene Christian instead of paying his dues at OU.
These moves speak more of the ability of Jermie Calhoun than anything else. By moving Madu to receiver the Oklahoma coaches moved the running back competition from five candidates to four. With Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray occupying the #1 and #2 spots Johnson and Calhoun were competing for the third and Calhoun was winning. How much did Calhoun influence the offense this spring? At least enough to where Madu is now a receiver and Johnson is gone.
Kevin Wilson has three high caliber backs to rotate into the lineup this fall. Coach Stoops also said in Dallas that DeMarco Murray had recovered from his injury and rejoined the team for summer workouts meaning that the thunder and lightening combination of him and Chris Brown will be an option from game one. Calhoun could be in the role that Madu was in last season by spelling the starters and providing a fresh set of legs but I really expect to see him get more plays that Madu did in `08.