2011 Oklahoma Football Offensive Preview: Running Backs

COLUMBIA MISSOURI - OCTOBER 23: Roy Finch #22 of the Oklahoma Sooners rushes against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 23 2010 in Columbia Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Let's be honest and not sugar coat anything. The Sooners struggled in the running game in 2010 and will enter 2011 without their super star four-year starter in DeMarco Murray. That's not to say there's a void of talent at the running back position, because there's plenty there, but proven talent is scarce. 

A new offensive philosophy behind new offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell is the first step to improvement, a deeper and more experienced offensive line is the second step but the main factor in trying to improve on Oklahoma's 3.4 yard per carry average from 2010 will be the new backs fighting for playing time.  

Sophomore Brennan Clay has possibly had the best camp of any of the Sooner backs and if I had to predict one of the opening day starters he would certainly be one of them. At 5-11/194 he's not a big bruising back but he possesses good speed and hands which makes him a receiving threat. He has 36 rushing attempts for his career for 127 yards (3.5 YPC). 

Jonathan Miller sat out last season with a redshirt so he'll return to the field this fall as a sophomore. Coming off a knee injury, thus the reason for the redshirt, he's ready to prove himself to Sooner Nation. As a true freshman, in 2009, Miller averaged 7.2 yards per carry and a score but was limited to only 18 total carries for the season. 

Sophomore Roy Finch showed flashes of brilliance last season, as a true freshman, reminding many Sooner fans of Quentin Griffin. He carried the ball 85 times for 398 yards (4.7 YPC) and two touchdowns. At 5-7/166 he's very much a scat back with great balance and superb hands. After catching 10 passes for 49 yards in `10 he'll be spending some time in the slot this fall.  

Junior Jermie Calhoun was the nation's top running back prospect (per ESPN) coming out of high school in 2008 and sat out as a redshirt freshman his first season in Norman. In 2009 he worked his way up to third on the depth chart and saw 45 carries, in limited action, producing 4.5 yards per carry. He's currently the highest touted running back on Oklahoma's roster (not by much though) but due to the injury bug he's never really been able to make much headway. 

True Freshman Brandon Williams looks to be the future of the Oklahoma running game but needs to weave his way through the depth chart first. Arriving early for the spring and having a solid summer camp has helped him immensely but there's still a ton of talent on the roster to compete with. 

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