Greco: Feed No. 22 More

NORMAN, Okla. – Loyalty is a good thing, but it can sometimes be a bad thing when that loyalty gets in the way of doing what's best for the team. And head coach Bob Stoops' loyalty to senior running back DeMarco Murray hurt the Sooners' offense in the team's 36-27 loss against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday.

Murray, whose name was thrown into the Heisman argument after setting the OU touchdown record against Iowa State, was unproductive on the ground against the Tigers. He gained 49 yards on 12 attempts, marking the first time this season where he was held to less than 50 yards on the ground.

While Murray and the Sooners' offense struggled, freshman running back Roy Finch was finding success on the ground. He ran the ball nine times and gained 59 yards, upping his season totals to 25 rushes and 151 yards, averaging 6.04 yard per rush.

It seemed that something good would happen and the offense would move the ball with ease every time Finch touched the ball.

When he first saw playing time against Missouri, which came late in the first quarter, Finch carried the ball three times for 30 yards. Each of his three rushes was good for at least five yards, with his longest going for 17.

During the drive, Finch lined up as the running back and Murray was the slot receiver, where he was fairly productive by catching three passes for 28 yards and would have had a touchdown if he did not trip in the open field at Missouri's 12 yard line. He was playing slot because junior wide receiver Ryan Broyles was briefly sidelined with an ankle injury.

The only problem with how Finch was used in the offense was that he was not being used. He ended the first half with five touches and carried the ball just four times in the second half despite averaging 5.75 yards per carry.

"We probably needed to stick with it just a little bit more," Stoops said. "So, those are things you go back and look and maybe yes, not only him but even some other guys and just stuck with it."

So, why didn't Stoops stick with Finch?

Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but the fact that Finch was running the ball better against Missouri's defense was obvious during the game.

More than half of Murray's rushing yards in the second half (30) came on a 20-yard run, so sticking with Finch would have made a lot of sense as long as Murray stayed in the game as either another back or a receiver, which is a concept Stoops said he is open to.

So, why not use it especially now that junior wide receiver Dejuan Miller is out for the year?

It's not to say that Murray should lose his starting job, it's deservingly his, but he is not the same back he was when he rushed for more than 1,000 yards during his sophomore year. Finch is the explosive half of a one-two punch that could help the Sooners in their run toward a conference title.

Stoops should not forget his loyalty he has for Murray, but if Finch is the better choice for any part of a game, then Stoops should call the freshman's number before No. 7.

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