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Offensive Line Could Determine Murray’s Return

DeMarco Murray isn't quite as bold about returning to the Sooners in 2010 as he was about a month ago when he said, "I like it here. I don't want to end my career at OU with an 8-4 record or whatever, so I'm just trying to get better. And I just enjoy being here. I'm part of a great team here. I love the coaching staff. I love the camaraderie with my teammates." Now, Murray is singing a bit of a different tune.

"I feel like I've got to take the opportunity to at least think about it, not put a stamp on it and say I'm going to come back next year,"

So what happened over the last several weeks that made Murray change his tune? One of the things that's happened is that he's calmed down and is no longer speaking from emotion and has had opportunity to think about the opportunity before him. Another is that he's discussed his options with coaches and they advise that he's at least got to explore his options. Finally he's put some thought into next year.

"Whenever I said that, I was just in the moment and felt I need to come back. But after talking to coaches and things like that, they agree with me that I need to look at both sides and figure out what I'm going to do."

With the graduation of Chris Brown Murray has the opportunity to get the bulk of the carries, instead of sharing them, and prove that he's shaken the injury bug once and for all. However, after having his stats drop from 1,002 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 2008 to 678 yards and 7 touchdowns in `09 he's also thinking of the offensive line next season.

"That's probably the number one factor, maybe one or two, just looking at how well they will be able to come back from this year," he said. "We've got some talent here in the O-line, but we knew there was work to be done after those five (linemen) left last year. We've got to look at it after the bowl game, see who's going to stick around and who's not."

It's clear that All-American Trent Williams isn't returning nor is Brian Simmons, because they can't, but there shouldn't be anyone else from the o-line bolting. However, the point has been made that the backs are putting a lot of the ownership of the rushing attack on the offensive line, which they should.

Murray doesn't have to declare his intentions until January 15th but my feeling (I hope I'm wrong) is that he's gone. Unless of course the second coming of Phil Loadholt and Duke Robinson are coming from the junior college ranks. If he were to go on to the NFL it would leave Jermie Calhoun and Jonathan Miller as the feature backs for next season. Thoughts?