Position Carousel: Oklahoma's Roy Finch Should Remain At Running Back

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 22: Running back Roy Finch #22 of the Oklahoma Sooners breaks the Texas Tech defense at at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma was upset by Texas Tech 41-38. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Players come to the University of Oklahoma for the chance to succeed while playing on the national scene. For a power house program such as the Oklahoma Sooners, it is no surprise that top level talent continues pouring in year after year. While this is good news for the fans, it can spell disaster for a player as the potential to be buried in the depth chart is always there. This is not the case for Roy Finch, a rare talent bottled into a pint sized ball carrier. The problem for Finch is that his size begs the question of if he will be able to handle 20-25 carries per game. Don't discount him due to this single disadvantage. Finch remains a dynamic player who needs to be on the field. This season, it seems that the coaching staff will put "Mighty Mouse" Roy Finch on a position carousel until they find a home for him on the field.

Roy Finch has always been on the smaller side in terms of body type. However, it has never been a hinderance to his production. In his freshman season behind DeMarco Murray, Finch averaged 4.68 yards per carry with 85 touches for 398 yards. This, of course, came after an injury kept him sidelined for the first five games of the season.

As Finch worked his way back from a second injury, he proved his freshman season wasn't a fluke as he avoided the sophomore slump with 111 carries for 605 yards for an average of 5.45 yards per carry...not too shabby by any standard. The real focus needs to be on how he picked up the slack when surprise RB Dominique Whaley went down.

Date

Opponent

Surface

Result

Att

Yards

Avg.

TD

10/22/11

*Texas Tech

Grass

L 38-41

13

93

7.15

0

10/29/11

@ 15 Kansas St.

Turf

W 58-17

9

73

8.11

1

11/05/11

Texas A&M

Grass

W 41-25

26

99

3.81

1

11/19/11

@ 13 Baylor

Turf

L 38-45

17

95

5.59

0

11/26/11

Iowa St.

Grass

W 26-6

15

83

5.53

0

12/03/11

@ 3 Oklahoma St.

Turf

L 10-44

9

65

7.22

0

*Dom Whaley did not play against Texas Tech

If there was any question about Finch's ability to carry the ball while getting the lion's share should have been summed up in this stretch. It is apparent that he is capable of 15+ carries a game while averaging solid numbers. With the Blake Bell in the Belldozer coming out for the goal line stand, Finch is an excellent weapon anywhere else on the field not to mention his hands coming out of the backfield.

Yes, his hands are why they are putting him in as a slot receiver, an experiment Oklahoma started last summer. Here are two reasons against this idea.

Roy Finch is one possible two injuries from returning to be a full-time running back.
Dominique Whaley is still dealing with a few questions. Even though he has been cleared to play, concerns have been brought up about his ability to cut. With full pads on, going full speed, will Whaley be comfortable on his ankle? That remains an unknown. Outside of Whaley, JUCO transfer Damien Williams is a name popping up as a possible impact player. It's been said here before so I'll say it again...you don't bring in JUCOs to take up space on a roster, you bring them in to have an immediate impact on the game. What happens if one or both of these players are injured?

The Sooners would be forced to turn back to Brennan Clay or Alex Ross simply because I do no think Trey Millard is valued enough to turn him into the premier back if the others are sidelined. While Clay is a great runner, he has not excelled at running between the tackles. It simply has not come together for Clay up to this point and he is entering his junior season. Alex Ross will be a true freshman and will need to prove he can hang on to the ball before Stoops is ready to throw him in the ring of fire.

Roy Finch will most likely be buried in the slot position.
Don't get me wrong, Finch is more than capable of playing the position in my mind. Will he have some learning to do? Absolutely! Many see this as his best chance at seeing the field. Kenny Stills will, no questions asked, be the starter in the slot. Behind him, Sterling Shepard has gained a ton of praise. He is a natural fit at the position and has been drawing comparisons to Ryan Broyles. With that said, it may be safe to say Finch will be third string at the position. If the plan is to utilize him as a slot receiver, third string is not the ideal situation.

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