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OU football: Trey Millard might be Sooners' best player, why not use him more?

Assistant coaches Mike Stoops and Tim Kish have made the statement on more than one occasion that Millard might be the best player on the team.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 9, 2012

NORMAN — Talking about Trey Millard the other day, Bob Stoops got giddy.

Now, I'm not sure if you've noticed or not, but Stoops isn't exactly the giddy type.

Still, when the topic of Millard came up, the Oklahoma coach became animated and cheery and down right peppy.

“He's ‘The Slash',” he said of his junior fullback/tight end/H-back/jack of all trades. “I don't know how he remembers it all, but he does.”

But wait, there's more.

(Told ya Stoops was kind of fired up.)

“The new guys, Mike (Stoops) and Tim Kish, have made statements on more than one occasion that he may be the best player on the team.”

Hey, here's a thought — why not use him?

And listen, I'm not talking about getting Millard on the field; he's already playing a lot of snaps for the Sooners, as we're sure to see Saturday during the spring game. I'm talking about putting the ball in his hands more. I'm talking about giving him more than two or three touches a game like last season.

I'm talking about using him.

Last fall, he was the most underutilized weapon in college football.

Millard gobbled up 7.0 yards every time he ran the football for the Sooners. That was the highest average among the OU backs.

The next highest mark was 5.5 yards per carry by Dom Whaley and Roy Finch.

But the thing is, Millard only carried the ball 24 times last season. That's less than two rushes per game, and by my count, that's about six or eight too few.

Why not hand off the ball to him at least eight or 10 times a game?

There's talk that the Sooners plan to use him more this season — Landry Jones and Cale Gundy has said so — but it's still a little hard to believe when they didn't use Millard more last season.

The run game, after all, was anemic. OU rushed for 200-plus yards only four times last season, and it did so against Tulsa, Ball State, Kansas and Iowa State. Not exactly a quality quartet.

In the Sooners' other nine games, they averaged less than 130 yards rushing a game.


But really, the struggles can be summed up in one word — Belldozer.

No doubt, there were lots of reasons that the power running formation gained favor in short-yardage, goal-line situations. The passing game was struggling without Ryan Broyles. The guy doing the dozing was pretty darn good. But more than anything, the Sooners' run-game struggles were the main bugaboo.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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