With the blows dealt this offseason to the Sooners’ vaunted running back depth following the transfer of Alex Ross and last week’s season-ending injury to redshirt freshman Rodney Anderson, fans will get to see just how deep the position extends itself much sooner than anyone would’ve liked. Behind only Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon in the rotation, Anderson’s touches will now likely fall on the shoulders of redshirt senior Daniel Brooks, who has stepped up when called on before and true freshman Abdul Adams.
We covered Adams’ commitment to OU last fall after the TCU game, and with one look at his junior highlights most would agree that his size and skill set could be a great fit in Lincoln Riley’s space, pace and pound system. The Sooners’ lone running back in the class of 2016, Adams has had fans buzzing about his potential in Norman since committing. And after a senior season of 180 carries, 2,036 yards and 21 TDs, here’s another look at the former four-star recruit (this video is fire!):
Adams shows immediate explosiveness upon taking the handoff and with his size, speed (4.4 40-yd. dash) and elite change of pace and direction, the 6’0” multi-purpose back from Durham evokes shades of a young Lamar Miller or possibly a not-quite-as-fast-but-close Kenjon Barner. He certainly appears to have the makings of a potential game breaker given the multiple looks employed in Riley’s scheme.
Some expected Adams to factor into the offense even with a healthy Anderson on the roster after no word came of a redshirt through the offseason. And Lincoln Riley last week confirmed to the OU Daily that Adams’ progress in practice so far has been encouraging.
On his readiness in adapting to this level of football the young coordinator added, “You don’t want those guys hesitant coming in, with the deer in the headlights look, and he’s not had that at all. He’s [run] physical, he’s got some breakaway availability. He has a chance to really be a complete back”
It’s still a work in progress of how quickly and heavily a young and eager Adams is worked into the mix. With his versatility and the most recent ruffling to OU’s running back core, it’s reasonably expected that his touches and time on the field will come immediately in OU’s up-tempo, high-possession attack. The plays are definitely going to be there, and if the Sooners are able to build a lead against Houston, we could be getting a second-half look at what Adams can do right away. If that game stays close, then the home game against LA-Monroe a week later provides an ample chance for the youngster to see early game time.
As unfortunate as the news to Rodney Anderson is, there is more explosiveness and dynamic talent that runs deep through the Oklahoma offensive backfield. A healthy Perine and Mixon are undoubtedly All-American caliber backs more than capable of shouldering a heavy load. But that is not a desired scenario if a long season is to be expected from them following the hits they’re sure to take early on from Houston, Ohio State, TCU and Texas. A ready Abdul Adams might prove crucial to the heart of the Sooners’ offense that’s unfortunately already been forced to undergo some preseason reshuffling.