DALLAS — DeMarco Murray is gone after a stunningly-productive Oklahoma Sooner career.
Sixty-five touchdowns. Rushed for 3,685 yards. Caught 157 passes for 1,571 yards.
But in Murray's wake, Bob Stoops expressed excitement about the outlook at tailback for the 2011 Sooners.
“There's a lot of potential in that backfield with those running backs,” Stoops said Tuesday during Big 12 Football Media Days.
Sophomores Roy Finch and Brennan Clay showed flashes of greatness last season. Walkon Dominique Whaley has been a two-year spring standout. Sophomore Jonathan Miller remains in the mix. Plus freshman Brandon Williams was one of the most highly-recruited Texans last winter.
“DeMarco, being a fifth-year senior, big, strong guy, could do so much, you don't replace him — or we have to really replace him by committee,” Stoops said. “But that's OK.
“And last year we snapped the ball more than anybody in the country. So there's a lot of snaps there. And I don't see any of these guys have the physical presence at this point and maturity to play 45, 50 snaps like DeMarco could.
“So we'll divide it up. But also play to, there's a guy in there that's hot, keep him in there until he needs a break, and then get him back in there.
“But I think it will benefit all of them being able to divide them up some. You think back to 2008, with Sam Bradford, the year he wins the Heisman Trophy, and we played in the national championship game. That year we had two 1,000-yard rushes. So it doesn't have to be an issue.”
Finch gained 398 yards on 85 carries last season, despite missing half the year with foot and ankle injuries. Clay gained 127 yards on 36 carries.
“To me, we have guys, if the guys up front do their job, they'll get through the hole and make something happen,” Stoops said. “So I feel good about it.”