Traditional fullbacks have slowly fallen by the wayside over the past decade as spread, up-tempo offenses evolved. But Stoops has shown a knack for identifying these types of players, even if they weren't fullbacks in high school.
Runnels played tight end and defensive end at Carl Albert, but became a fullback in Norman. Eldridge signed with the Sooners as a defensive end, but became a tight end/fullback hybrid player.
Millard played on the offensive line, at linebacker, running back and tight end in high school. Ripkowski said last week that he was a high-school linebacker who didn't bring any ball handling experience to Norman with him.
Millard's value as a blocker had become particularly noticeable this season, as Oklahoma has shown an impressive ability to sustain long, time-consuming drives in the fourth quarter.
Even after Millard's injury, Oklahoma ran nearly six minutes off the clock, giving Texas Tech the ball back down eight points with only 1:17 remaining.
“Brannon Green, some of those young tight ends are gonna have to step up,” said senior center Gabe Ikard. “Aaron Ripkowski's gonna have to have a bigger role now.
“We don't have anyone that can replace him, all the things he does, special teams, offense … we don't have someone that has that skill set, but we're gonna try to put people out there and put them in good situations and be able to try to what Trey's done the last several years, and we'll see how that goes.”