NORMAN — The first kick return of the 2008 Big 12 Championship might have been DeMarco Murray’s last. The Oklahoma running back suffered a torn tendon in his left hamstring on the play, ending his season.
Eight months later, Murray hasn’t reclaimed his spot on the depth chart at kick returner. "We’ve been a good return unit, and I don’t see that changing,” said coach Bob Stoops. "We’ve got a lot of guys that can run the ball.” Among the newcomers at the position is junior cornerback Dominique Franks. "I wanted to return kicks really bad,” said Franks, who returned six punts but no kickoffs in 2008. "I did it in high school, but I didn’t get my hands on too many. I think I got to return four, and three were for touchdowns.” Sophomore Ryan Broyles was a staple at punt returner for the Sooners, averaging almost 10 yards, highlighted by a 68-yard touchdown against Kansas State. Like Murray, an All-Big 12 running back, Broyles will be a central piece of the Oklahoma offense. But the sophomore receiver says he couldn’t wait for a chance to return kicks. "I take pride in it, it can open the game up,” he said. "Anytime I get the ball, I look to score.” Murray will not practice full speed for another week after injuring his other hamstring.