MILLARD WILL GET MORE CARRIES, GUNDY SAYS
Junior Trey Millard is one of the Sooners' most important all-around offensive players. His wide range of roles includes blocking fullback, H-back, tight end and even featured back.
In last season's win at Kansas State, in one of just 24 carries all season, Millard busted off a 61-yard touchdown run. This year, running backs coach Cale Gundy said Millard will get even more opportunities to carry the ball.
“That's something we wanted to do, and we're doing that,” Gundy said. “The thing with Trey is, he's one of our best tight ends. He's also our best fullback, and he's also our best carrier. He's a hybrid. You have to find ways to get him touches.”
DAD: CENTER BETTER FOR GABE IKARD
No one was more disappointed than Gabe Ikard for his close friend, senior Ben Habern, after his career was prematurely ended with lingering back and neck issues.
Ikard, a junior, played several games at center last year while Habern battled an arm injury and will move into the position full time this season.
Ikard's dad, Jim, though, said he thinks Gabe's size and skills make center a better position for him as he looks toward a potential NFL career.
“The guards in the NFL are 6-4 or 6-5, and 330,” Jim Ikard said. “Most of the centers are about his size.”
Gabe Ikard's intelligence and ability to think fast also makes center a good spot for him moving forward, but also in OU's fast-paced offense.
“The center in that offense calls out all the blocking assignments,” Jim Ikard said. “They run up to the line, he gets over the ball and gets the call in. It's just got to happen real fast.”
KISH: NELSON SETTLING DOWN
Junior outside linebacker Corey Nelson was “a little bit out of whack” in the spring, linebackers coach Tim Kish said, but has come on strong in the fall and become a leader.
“He seems to be settling down; I think he's more focused this fall, which he needed to be,” Kish said. “He's providing us with some leadership out there, but he needs to keep improving like everybody else.”
Nelson started 11 games last season as a sophomore, recording 60 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
The linebacker group, with Nelson, senior Joseph Ibiloye and junior Tom Wort, doesn't return a whole lot of experience, but does include several exciting younger players, like redshirt freshman Frank Shannon, true freshman Eric Striker and sophomore Aaron Franklin.
“We just got to develop that position,” Kish said. “Competition has been good in there. We have to raise our game every day.”