Finch Readies Himself to be 'The Guy'

TEMPE, Ariz. — At the beginning of the season, no one could possibly have foreseen the running back situation the Sooners are dealing with heading into their bowl game.

But a pair of running backs, Jonathon Miller and Jermie Calhoun, elected to transfer earlier in the season.

Dominique Whaley, who will be back next year, tore his anterior cruciate ligament at Kansas State.

Brandon Williams is out with a back injury and set to transfer like the other two--likely to Texas A&M--at the end of the year.

And just like that, the Sooners have gone from six very serviceable running backs to just two.

The one that figures to shoulder the heaviest load is Roy Finch, the same guy who was virtually nonexistent the first few games of the year.

He's ready for that challenge.

"I mean, I'm just trying to come out here each day and work hard," said Finch, when asked if he's ready to be ‘the guy' in the backfield. "I have a lot to work on. I'm far from one of the best backs in the country. And I'm just working and trying to become one of those backs and just trying to come out here and just do everything that I can to improve and help my team win."

The first four games of the season, Finch managed just 36 yards on 10 carries, but he has since turned it on in recent weeks after becoming more of a mainstay in the Sooner offense following Whaley's injury.

Finch recorded a touchdown in three of his first four games after that rocky start, finding pay dirt for the first time at Kansas and racking up a season-high 99 yards against Texas A&M.

Despite not scoring in the past three games, in the last seven he has accumulated 566 yards and all three of his touchdowns.

That increased offensive presence has afforded him the opportunity to emerge as a leader on this offense.

"Yeah, I mean, I find myself indirectly being more vocal," Finch said. "You know, not trying to be vocal but you know, whenever my team needs me, I just try to be out there and be like, ‘Let's go. Pick it up guys. We're lacking. We need to pick it up.' So, I find myself talking a little bit more, so it's becoming more of a comfort level for me."

More production will do that to a player.

But what it will also do, especially at the running back position, is fatigue him.

Still, Finch is ready for the load of 30 carries or more per game, if it means exerting more effort out there.

"Yeah, I mean, I find myself getting tired a little bit," Finch said. "But that's what you have to go through to get more conditioned, and you know, we run after every practice. We do a couple trippers just to make sure we stay in shape, but I just feel like the more reps I get at practice, the more I can be more comfortable in game situations."

Brennan Clay, who started the season ahead of Finch on the depth chart, has been less involved with the offense in recent weeks but figures to get some more of the workload as well in lieu of everyone else's absence.

He has ran for 230 yards and a touchdown this season.

And fullback Trey Millard, who has rumbled for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns, will also pull some of the workload during the Insight Bowl.

Finch, though, is expected to be the main guy, and he's ready for it.

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