Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

August 24, 2012

Shinn at 3 p.m.: Veterans likely to lead backfield

NORMAN — Oklahoma running backs coach Cale Gundy likes what he's seen from freshmen Alex Ross and David Smith, but that doesn't that mean either is going to play this season.

"Everybody knows I like to play two or three guys, but I don't want to play four or five. There are only so many carries that can go around," Gundy said.

Both freshmen have arrived to find a cluttered backfield at OU. Senior Dominique Whaley has the coaching staff believing there's no lingering effects from last season's ankle injury. Junior Brennan Clay bulked up to 205 pounds in the offseason and could be the Sooners' most reliable ball carrier. Junior college transfer Damien Williams has clearly moved into the top three.

There's a common trait those three share that Ross and Smith don't. They're not freshmen and it takes a while to learn the ins and outs of the Sooners' offense.

"You've  got to know what he's going to do," Gundy said when asked what it took for a freshman to play the running back spot. "We're not a slow offense. We're not an offense that's going to huddle up. You're not going to have a guy that talks to you before every single play and tell you what the play is. You're basically learning hand signals. There's a lot going on."

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