Oklahoma football: Grandmother's lessons help Roy Finch persevere

Injury and a position change haven't dampened the spirit of Sooner junior
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: August 24, 2012


photo - Oklahoma's Roy Finch (22) takes a handoff from Oklahoma's Landry Jones (12) during the Insight Bowl college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners and the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Roy Finch (22) takes a handoff from Oklahoma's Landry Jones (12) during the Insight Bowl college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners and the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

— “Grandma, I'm getting ready to go play football. Pray for me right now.”

These are the words Doris Finch hears through her cellphone before almost every college football game her grandson, OU's Roy Finch, plays.

That's when grandmother and grandson bow their heads and ask God to give the team its protection and guidance.

When she hangs up, Doris is happy to know that her grandson is continuing his life the way she raised him.

“Even if somebody hates you and you don't like them,” Roy said, “to still show love toward them.”

Finch came to Norman as a four-star recruit. A 5-7, 175-pound running back, he earned the nickname “Little Roy” on the football field as Doris prayed from the stands or her home on the East Coast. Her grandson may have muscle, but he's small, and all she envisions is 300-pound football players hitting him.

It scares her. Her prayers never end when he's on the field.

Roy was touted as the 20th best running back in the nation by Rivals. There was so much hype surrounding him. Then he suffered an ankle injury and missed the first five games of his freshman season, recovered and then injured it again, making him unable to play in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2010 season.

There were many times during that year he called his grandmother to pray. Those days were trying.

Then came his sophomore year, when he got Dom Whaley'd from the starting position until Whaley himself suffered an ankle injury and Finch took over the starting running back spot.

Now Finch is in Year 3. Whaley is expected to stay the starting running back if he is injury free, and Finch is looking to play more slot receiver. For him, it's not about being the player that the media rushes to interview. He just wants to be known as an unselfish player.

Finch said he wants to help Whaley gain 2,000 or 3,000 yards and make plays where he can.


by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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