NORMAN — Trey Millard's primary role is a human battering ram that opens holes for running backs.
Millard gets an occasional carry, more than any fullback in the Bob Stoops era. He's also a 255-pound “receiver” with deceptive speed.
This season, his role will expand. Millard on occasion will line up as an H-back, which could exploit defenses that can't substitute against Oklahoma's hurry-up offense.
While he has a thankless job that coaches and teammates appreciate more than the casual fan, Millard welcomes being more diverse, even if it's just a few plays a game.
"I want to try to play (fullback) at the next level," Millard said. "It helps my professional stock to be able to play a hybrid role. The more tools you have in your shed, the more you're worth."
NFL general managers will have to wait at least two more seasons before they can draft Millard, the prototype fullback.
Nicknamed “the Load,” Millard plays like a seasoned veteran. But he's is only a sophomore.
OU coaches marveled how quickly Millard adapted a few months after his high school graduation. In his very first game he delivered a seal block on the edge to spring DeMarco Murray for a 63-yard touchdown run.
It was textbook perimeter blocking.
"Last year, he walked around like he was 28 years old," Stoops said. "He walked out there for his first game, a tough grunt position, and played it wonderfully."
The only setback for Millard so far was he played through a shoulder injury, a torn labrum. He underwent surgery in January. He sat out spring drills. During two-a-days, he's back to delivering smashing hits that rattle the toughest linebackers.
"I really like my role here," Millard said. "I came here to be a fullback in the true sense."
Millard, though, gets an occasional carry.
At media day two weeks ago, former OU fullback J.D. Runnels was working for WWLS. In a radio interview with Millard, Runnels asked him how many carries he had his first season.
"I don't even want to know," Runnels interrupted. "I know you had more than I had my entire career."
A lot more.
Runnels finished his career with two carries.
Millard had 24 carries as a true freshman. He probably won't get double digit carries in a game. Nearly half of his carries last season were third-and-short, move-the-chains carries.
But any carries by the OU fullback is stop-the-presses news, which Millard discovered at the Cotton Bowl.
After the Sooners' win over Texas, Millard was stunned at the attention he received during the postgame locker room celebration.
To him, five carries for 16 yards was nothing special.
"Everybody was coming up telling me, 'That's not supposed to happen,'" Millard said.
It could happen more this season. And he should compile more than 16 receptions.
And when he occasionally lines up as an H-back, Millard won't be asked to blast defenders.
"But I like blasting people up," Millard said, smiling. "But it will be a nice little change, getting out there to catch some routes or run the ball some."
Millard knows his primary role will be a lead blocker. He not only accepts that role, he enjoys it.
"Trey is a very good football player, and that may be underselling how good he is," said running backs coach Cale Gundy. "He may be even a lot better than that.
"He's very, very valuable for us. He's very smart. He's very dependable. He's a great competitor. He can run it. He can catch it. He can block. He knows what he's supposed to do."
Every time coaches praised Millard last season they usually threw in the line, "he will only get better."
Considering how well he played as a true freshman, how good can he be?
"His ability to block, carry the ball and be a receiver, we haven't anybody like that around here in a long time," said offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.