So as I was sitting in my office yesterday, listening to Oklahoma sports talk radio as every productive office drone does, I heard an interesting little tidbit coming out of the recent preseason practice reports. As Carey Murdock, of SoonerScoop, was talking with Bob Barry Jr. yesterday on the OKC Sports Animal he said he had heard that fullback Trey Millard had been getting some snaps at tailback and could possibly see more time as the primary ball carrier this year. I have to admit, it was the first I had heard of it and while I certainly don't have the inside sources that Murdock or CCMachine have I do try and keep up as much as humanly possible. I'll also admit that I was immediately intrigued by the idea.
I, like so many OU fans, became an immediate fan of Millard last year for not only his devastating blocking ability, but more just his all around ability to contribute in so many different facets of the offense. He's a kid who played some tight end in high school, so you know he's got pretty good hands. OU utilized him in the passing game at times last year, though he did struggle with some easy catches occasionally, and I'd expect more of that this year. He was also used, with great effectiveness, in the run game as well. Just ask UT fans if they remember him from last year's Red River Shootout. He burned them numerous times for tough first down runs and seemed to be able to pick up chunks at a five yard clip almost at will.
OU fans are painfully aware of the difficulty the Sooners have had the last couple years in short yardage or goal line situations where everyone in the stadium knows a run is coming. Now a significant part of success in those situations is undoubtedly the ability of your offensive line to get off the ball and, at a minimum, create some kind of seam for the RB. That said, you also need a guy who is big and strong enough to lower their pads and make something out of nothing if need be. Up until now, the offense had been missing this player. Some thought it was a role that Jermie Calhoun could have excelled at, considering he was the biggest RB on the roster, and he still may as he appears to be almost fully recovered from last year's major knee surgery. However, with Murdock's comment Friday it would appear the OU offense may have just found their man in the 255 pound brick wall with legs that is Trey Millard.
Allow me a minor detour in my thought that the whole "Thunder & Lightning" name being a little played out. I feel like it needs to be refreshed a little bit. I'm kind of partial to "Bash n' Dash" but certainly open to suggestions. Anyway, moving on. I think we all know how this kind of package works, the bash (played by Millard) softens up the defense so that the dash (our stable of RBs) can come in and break off the big runs. As I mentioned before, Calhoun is the biggest true RB on the roster but even with that Millard's still got 40 pounds on him! There is certainly no shortage of Dash in our backfield, but between Millard and possibly Calhoun, the Sooners look to have discovered their Bash.
It's a possible very interesting wrinkle for the 2011 OU offense and could provide Coach Heupel yet another weapon for his already powerful arsenal. There was some fear, despite reassurances from Stoops, that Millard could possibly get lost in Heupel's offense. This news would seem to suggest otherwise and in fact quite the contrary, could lead to Millard being featured even more than under Kevin Wilson's direction of the Sooner offense. The only possible negative aspect of this that I can see is that if true, it just makes distributing the carries between all the RBs that much more difficult. That said, given all the talented guys OU already has at the RB spot it was going to be a potential issue regardless so I'm not sure this is really a new 'problem' per se.
So what say you OU fans, does the idea of Millard getting more carries and playing a larger role in the offense excite you as much as it does me?