NORMAN – In August, Oklahoma had a dilemma with its running backs: There were seemingly too many for too few carries.
In the middle of December, the Sooners have a different dilemma with their running backs: There are seemingly too few for too many carries.
Not including fullback Trey Millard, a lot of a half-dozen has shrunk to just two as OU prepares for the Dec. 30 Insight Bowl: sophomores Brennan Clay and Roy Finch.
And even those names had questions attached to them until coach Bob Stoops addressed their situations during a Monday news conference.
Finch has started four games and rushed for 601 yards this season, but he was recently cited by Norman police for damaging an acquaintance's computer.
Stoops acted as if he knew nothing about the incident.
“I'm wondering why he wouldn't,” Stoops said when asked if Finch would play. “I'm fully expecting him to play. I don't know what you're referencing.”
As for Clay, multiple sources have told The Oklahoman that he is at least considering a transfer.
“That's the first I've ever heard of that,” Stoops said.
But Stoops did acknowledge “we have some guys for different reasons that are considering” transfers. He said he'll announce those in January.
Clay started the first four games at running back. After a shoulder injury, his playing time shrank to near nothing – even after Dominique Whaley was injured. He rushed for 159 yards in the first three games – and just 69 in the six games after returning from the injury.
Stoops confirmed Monday that highly considered freshman Brandon Williams has been granted his release. A source said this past weekend, and reports surfaced Monday, that Williams plans to enroll at Texas A&M.
The native of Brookshire, just west of Houston, is trying to move to be closer to family. Williams has a young daughter.
“It didn't come out of nowhere,” Stoops said. “It's something I know he's thought about. I think the primary reasons are family reasons. And that's OK.”
Williams, who visited A&M this past weekend, was not going to be able to play in the bowl game, anyway, due to a neck injury.
He joins Jermie Calhoun and Jonathon Miller as Sooners backs who transferred during the season. Calhoun and Miller, who left the team in September, were particularly perplexing, since they couldn't immediately transfer elsewhere.
“Well, I mean there's reason for a lot of them,” Stoops said, speaking generally about the transfers. “Some want more playing time. … Some have multiple issues that you don't know about within the program, whether it be class attendance, whether it be workout absences, whether it be drug-testing policies.
“Everything they have to handle, there's a lot to it. And to be an athlete in good standing here, you've got to meet certain standards. If they're not, you know, maybe some guys need to find somewhere where they don't have to meet those standards. So there's all kinds of reasons why.”
In addition to Finch, and maybe Clay, the Sooners do return leading rusher Dominique Whaley in 2012. Whaley, who broke an ankle Oct. 29 at Kansas State, ran for 627 yards and nine touchdowns to earn a scholarship for his senior season.
Millard is a sophomore, too, but he only has 44 career rushes.
OU has one running back, Jenks' Alex Ross, committed in the '12 class. Additionally, the Sooners offered Norman's Donovan Roberts last week.