Around the time Oklahoma running back Damien Williams was making Red River history in last year's dismantling of Texas, OU fans were as excited about his future prospects since the days of Demarco Murray. Unfortunately, just a few weeks later during OU's midseason showdown with Notre Dame, Williams would suffer an ankle injury that clearly affected him for the remainder of the season.
Williams was still effective even while playing through the injury, but is was clear that he wasn't the same back prior to the injury.
Now healthy after an offseason to let the ankle heal, Williams is back and ready to carry the load should the OU coaches ask him to do so. He has put in considerable work during the winter to the point there is a noticeable difference in his physique. Williams has added about eight pounds of muscle to his frame after experiencing his first year at the Division I level having come from the junior college ranks. He spoke earlier this spring about specifically getting his weight up to help his body hold up over the course of a season, but also taking care to make sure he did not lose any of his breakaway speed.
After finishing with 905 yards on 160 carries, Williams has prepared himself for an even heavier workload with an expected emphasis on the run game to be employed by the Oklahoma offense this coming season.
With Williams' ability to grind out the tough yards in between the tackles while also have the ability to run away from defenders once he gets to the second level, he presents an ideal combination of skills for this Oklahoma offense. One of the more underrated aspects of his game is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, which only increases his value to the offense with the ability to leave him out there for all three downs. He finished last season with 301 receiving yards on 29 receptions for a healthy 10.4 yards per catch average.
Fortunately, Williams will not be asked to carry the burden alone as the Sooners have capable backs around him in fellow senior Brennan Clay and the talented redshirt freshman Alex Ross. Oklahoma running backs coach Cale Gundy has been very successful in the past distributing carries amongst the available backs and with the collection of talent he will have at his disposal this year, he'll have his hands full trying to keep everyone satisfied.
However as Gundy would likely be the first one to tell you, that is what you call a good problem to have.