Maybe it was the spotlight that got to the once-starting running back. Maybe faster guys just came in. Maybe Finch just didn't know how to handle all the responsibilities that came with a high-profile position. He's always been talked about as a nice, humble guy, but not always as the starter kind of guy.
This spring, he's drawn more talk about his responsibility, his maturity and his game.
He showed his unquestioned athleticism Saturday when he caught a pass over the middle from quarterback Blake Bell, cut through a little traffic and ran for 49 yards.
Sure, the final numbers are a bit skewed. Clay and Williams barely touched the ball Saturday. Then redshirt freshman David Smith ran for 65 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown.
Yet Finch drew praise from Heupel for being “reliable on a consistent basis” this offseason.
“(Roy is) doing what we're asking him to do in the meeting room, on the practice field, or in the classroom, in the weight room,” Heupel said. “He's maturing as a person. If you're going to play at a high level, you have to mature as an individual. So he's doing a lot of things in the right way that give him hope that he'll be able to have a bigger role than a year ago.”
There are still 140 days until kickoff. Still plenty of time for Finch to prove he's matured enough to carry the load of an Oklahoma running back. Still plenty of time for his coaches to choose who is best for them to play.
“Ultimately, it'll be the guy who give us a chance to win,” Heupel said.