Brennan Clay breaks down running backs

On paper, the Sooners appeared deep and strong at running back in August of last year. Then Jermie Calhoun and Jonathon Miller quit. Then Dominique Whaley broke an ankle and Brandon Williams caught fumbilitis. Suddenly the Sooners were left with a banged-up Brennan Clay and Roy Finch in the Insight Bowl.

Clay, however, likes what he sees out of the rotation this season. Williams transferred to Texas A&M in the offseason. But Whaley is back and healthy. Clay is feeling good, too. The Sooners also added junior-college transfer Damien Williams and blue-chip freshman Alex Ross. Illinois native David Smith was added to the recruiting class a few weeks before signing day, too.

"I love the competition," Clay said. "It only makes me play harder."

Clay has been impressed with the newcomers, especially Ross, who is playing his way out of a redshirt.

"They all have raw talent. Alex is a speedster. You guys have probably already heard that," Clay said. "David Smith is a hard worker. Always finishes to the whistle."

Clay sees Damien Williams making an instant impact, too.

"My boy Damien Williams, I played against him (in high school)," Clay said. "He was my rival. I know him pretty well. I know he can play. I'm excited to see what he can do."

The Sooners feel so good about their depth at running back now, they’ve tinkered with using Finch in the slot. Finch played some jetback last season before the injuries to the other backs.

“Roy has such good hands and quickness there in the slot, just to work some at the inside receiver. He’s a talented guy,” coach Bob Stoops said. “You think about the screens and the short routes underneath, you can throw it to him and let him run with it. It’s looked good.”