NORMAN, Okla. -- Finding ways to get Roy Finch the ball is one of the focuses of fall camp for Oklahoma. The Sooners running back had 1,124 all-purpose yards and averaged 7.2 yards per touch -- best among the OU running backs -- in 2011.
But playing time could be hard to come by in the backfield with Dominique Whaley returning from injury alongside Brennan Clay and several talented newcomers. So OU is looking to find a role for the 5-foot-7 dynamo.
“He’s an explosive playmaker,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “We’re trying to find ways to get him in space. He’s got the ability to play multiple positions but I think his natural one is probably tailback.”
Finch has been practicing at slot receiver as OU looks for ways to use the junior’s talent.
“He’s doing well, he’s athletic and can catch,” receivers coach Jay Norvell said.
But the key for Finch, who is used to catching passes out of the backfield, is learning the nuances of the position and the routes required in OU’s offensive attack.
“So much of the passing game is everyone being where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there,” Norvell said. “If it is supposed to be 12 yards, it’s got to be 12 yards all the time. You don’t have any timing if guys don’t run the right depths. He’s learning how to play, learning how to be consistent at some deeper routes. He’s getting a lot of repetitions and he’s learning from that.”
Regardless, expect Finch to carve himself a role in the Sooners attack. He’s just too talented to leave on the sideline.
“He’s still a very good running back, he’s one of our better players,” Norvell said. “We’re just trying to expand his role a little bit. That helps our flexibility of being able to play without taking guys off the field.”