Oklahoma's Running Game the Key to Success

By Jamie Plunkett
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners have, over the past few seasons, placed the trust of their offense in the hands of more than capable quarterbacks. However, there was a time before that where they relied very heavily on the running game.

Remember Adrian Peterson?

Of course you do.

Well, they may not be another All Day on this roster, but there are two guys who are more than ready to shoulder the load for Boomer’s offense this season.

Damien Williams and Brennan Clay both came into 2012 thinking they would be overshadowed by Dominique Whaley. Whaley, after all, was an established, dominant runner for the Sooners, racking up 627 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011 despite splitting time with Roy Finch.

However, while Whaley spent much of the season injured, Williams and Clay both elevated their games to become a feared rushing attack.

Williams ended the 2012 season with 946 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, by far the leading rusher on the team. Clay finished with 555 yards and six touchdowns, making the most of being the backup. They’ll both be poised to dominate on the ground again in 2013, and defenses are going to have to load the box if they hope to slow down this running attack.

However, as dangerous as Williams and Clay can be, they may not be the key to Oklahoma’s rushing game.

That would be quarterback Blake Bell.

In two seasons as a backup to Landry Jones, Bell has been a modified version of the “goal line back,” coming in on short down situations when OU only needs a yard or two. For his career, Bell has 372 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns.

I talked earlier this week about the fact that Bell isn’t a lock to be the starting quarterback for Oklahoma this season, but even if he isn’t, he’ll be a big factor. At the very least, he’ll keep the same role he has been so supremely effective in, and if he improves his passing ability, he could become one of the biggest dual threat quarterbacks in the country.

So let this be a message to the rest of the Big 12. Load the box and force Oklahoma to throw the ball, or it could get ugly.

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