Oklahoma sophomore running back Brennan Clay said he's never contemplated transferring.
“I have no idea where that came from,” Clay said after Tuesday's practice. “They make that up every year. I remember I came in as a freshman and they said I was transferring. ... That's not true at all.”
Clay added: “People always have something to say. They want to put you down or speculate. It is what it is. It's not true. ... I'm not worried about it.”
CALI TRIO STEPS UP
Known as the Cali trio, safety Tony Jefferson, wide receiver Kenny Stills and Clay sometimes are singled out because of their unique story.
But give them credit. All three San Diego-area players showed up for the one and only pre-bowl game press conference Tuesday after practice when several other players weren't available.
“I know what type of heart I play with. I know the character I have and the person I am,” Stills said. “They can question everything they want to, but I know how I feel inside and the people close to me know that, too.”
The Cali trio faced the tough questions ranging from teammates transferring to a substandard 9-3 season, capped by a lopsided Bedlam loss.
Do they feel they get singled out?
“A little bit,” Clay said. “It's crazy. People like to pick at us. They know we came here trying to make plays. It's something different. They're not used to that. I guess we attract a lot of attention. ... We're three young men still learning the ropes. We're going to take that leadership role to another level, keep this Sooner train going.”
HURST WILL RETURN NEXT SEASON
Junior cornerback Demontre Hurst isn't concerned what round he might be selected if he declared for the NFL Draft.
“I want to get better as a player, try and help myself,” Hurst said. “I want to be a leader, also within this secondary and defense. It's another chance to play with these young guys and get back on that winning football track. So yeah, I'm definitely going to be back next year.”
ONLY TWO RUNNING BACKS
Because of injuries and freshman Brandon Williams transferring, sophomore Roy Finch and Clay are the only two running backs left to play in the Insight Bowl.
Clay was the starter the first three games but has been limited to 66 carries for 230 yards. Hampered by a pinched nerve in his neck, Clay hopes to build some momentum heading into the spring.
“I've been held back a little bit, but I know once I get on that field I'm blessed enough to do the things that I do,” Clay said. “I'm going to make it count.”
Finch was asked if he could he handle 30 carries.
“Give me the rock,” Finch said. “I would have plenty of time (to rest up).”
REACTION TO PLAYERS TRANSFERRING
When a player transfers, teammates are aware long before it becomes public.
“The locker room is getting emptier and emptier for various issues, whether it's family or issues with the staff, whatever it may be, I can't say what it might be,” Clay said. “But it is tough. That's your brother that's leaving, walking out that door. You might never see him again.”
Jefferson said: “They come and they go. We had a very tough loss before the season (linebacker Austin Box's death) and we fought through that. We have some guys who feel they need to go somewhere else. They're our teammates and we respect them.”
WORT ON COKER NOT PLAYING
A key element to OU's defensive game plan was geared toward slowing down Iowa running back Marcus Coker, the Big Ten's second leading rusher. Coker was suspended Tuesday for violation of team rules and won't play in the bowl game.
“He's a real good running back, a big guy,” said middle linebacker Tom Wort. “I've seen a lot of him on film. I was kind of looking forward to the challenge. It's kind of disappointing he's not going to be playing but the game plan's going to be the same.”
BROYLES A CONSENSUS ALL-AMERICAN
Wide receiver Ryan Broyles on Tuesday was named a consensus All-American for the second consecutive year, OU's 75th consensus All-American in the modern era, more than any other school.
Broyles is the all-time leader for Division I receptions (349). Suffering a career-ending torn ACL Nov. 6 against Texas A&M, the Norman product finished his career with 4,586 receiving yards, second all-time, and 45 receiving touchdowns.
To be a consensus All-American, a player has to be named first team on least two of the five All-America teams (AP, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association, The Sporting News and Walter Camp Foundation). Second- and third-teams are used to break ties.