NORMAN — Roy Finch can't escape it.
He hears it at games. He sees it on Twitter. He even gets asked about it in class.
“I know it's out there,” Finch said. “People tell me. Even in class, people grab me, tap me on the shoulder, ‘Roy, why didn't you play?' I'm like, I don't know, I'm trying to focus on the lecture.”
When the elusive 5-foot-7 running back from Niceville, Fla., debuted six games into his freshman season against Iowa State, plenty of Oklahoma fans saw visions of a former Sooner star.
Even Oklahoma's coaches had those visions.
“In two-a-days early, I said, ‘Man, that's Quentin Griffin,” then-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said before Finch's debut. “The response from (assistants Cale Gundy and Josh Heupel) was, ‘That's Quentin Griffin, but faster.'”
Those visions have become largely unfulfilled.
After rushing for a combined 1,003 yards and 196 carries his first two seasons, Finch has carried the ball just 49 times for 343 yards since.
Going into Saturday's home finale against the Cyclones, Finch won't say what's limited his opportunities the past two seasons, even as he's averaged seven yards per carry.
“If you all want to interview my coaches, I practice hard,” Finch said. “You can ask my coaches, my teammates as well, ‘How're Roy's practice habits?' I'm one of the hardest practice players on this team. I go hard.”
Gundy, the Sooners running back coach, has not been made available for interviews this season.
“We play everybody like the way we feel they need to be played,” Bob Stoops said when asked about Finch. “My assistant coaches make those decisions depending on how they practice and everything else they've done through the week.”
Stoops said he was pleased with their evaluations.
Late in his sophomore season, Finch had a three-game stretch — against Texas A&M, Baylor and Iowa State — where he carried a combined 58 times for 277 yards.
In the 21 games since, Finch has just 64 carries.
“I wouldn't say it's frustrating,” Finch said. “I've gotten to a point in maturity where it doesn't really frustrate me as much anymore because I know ultimately my future is in God's hands. My future's bright. It's all about your attitude and just staying positive.”
That doesn't mean Finch is content.
Finch is reluctant to talk about last season, when he carried the ball just seven times (for an 8.9-yard average) despite playing in every game, but he admits that he hasn't gotten the touches he would like this year.
“I really refocused myself this offseason and just really made a dedication toward my team that I was going to do whatever it took to put myself in a position to play a lot,” Finch said. “The coaches know my talent, players know my talent, but it's all about doing the right things all the time, not just eight out of 10 times — 10 out of 10.”
Many seniors talk about how their time in college went by so fast. Finch sees it differently.
“I thought it was going to go by fast but looking back on it, it went by perfect,” Finch said. “I had a lot of ups and downs here. You have to go through ups and downs to learn and to grow and to become a better man.”
He also sees a silver lining in his sometimes limited role.
“Yeah, I wish I would get more opportunities — 20 carries, some touches in the slot — but I feel like my time is coming for that,” Finch said. “I haven't taken the hits that a normal college back has taken in college over his four years. I feel like I'm fresh moving forward so I just feel like that's going to be an upside for me too.”