Q&A: Running back Brennan Clay

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated presents a Q&A with running back Brennan Clay, inquiring about his rekindled rivalry with new running back teammate Damien Williams, health and more.

Q. Damien talked to us when he committed to OU and said that you were a big player in his recruitment and stuff, finally getting him on campus. Does it just kind of add fuel to your fire to get that competition with him?

A. Oh, of course. Like I said earlier, he was my rival at Mira Mesa and I played for Scripps. And him and I went out and we were battling until the fourth quarter. I wanna say we put up four or five touchdowns each, and he got the better of me in the end, but it's all good. I'm excited. Him and I are in great competition and I know what he can do. He knows what I can do. We're just only going to feed off each other.

Q. You said battling through injuries. Does that go all the way back to the Florida State thing with your neck?

A. Oh, I mean, not necessarily. I had another nick with my pinch nerve last year. But I fought through that, you know, worked it out. I'm getting bigger and faster and am finally putting the weight on.

Q. Is the most frustrating thing for you just looking at your yards per carry and it's just not where anybody thought you'd be at this point?

A. Oh, yeah of course. I mean, but I've only played so many games and injury-wise, that's kinda been hindering me. But I'm excited. I'm gonna go through the season, you know, full stride.

Q. What do you think about Roy trying something new?

A. I wish him nothing but the best. We all know he can play slot. He's a little sneaky, little sneaky and he can get open. He can make plays and catch the ball. So, I'm excited to see him there.

Q. There's a lot of people talking about Sterling [Shepard] as a guy that stood out to them in the slot. What do you think about him?

A. He's a raw talent. I'm excited to see him play as well. My man can go up and get it as well as the new guy, Bester, I believe is his name. And I'm excited to see Trey Metoyer as well.

Q. If you have a hard time knowing his name here, what do you call him out on the field?

A. Oh, that's not my category. I'm with the backs. We gotta know the backs that we're worried about.

Q. Some injuries with the offensive line, Tyler [Evans] going down and of course Ben Habern, this team has dealt with some stuff already. What's this team mentally like to handle these types of situations?

A. We'll be fine. Like I said earlier, we got plenty of guys to fill their position and their role. And we're all working. We're all working hard and, you know, one guy goes down, another guy has to step up. And that's just how it is.

Q. Is that scary for you that you've gone through those neck injuries and then you hear what happens to Ben. Does it kind of put something in the back of your mind or do you just try to not even think about it?

A. I don't think about that. You know, Ben [Habern] is a great guy. It's unfortunate he has to go through something like that. You know, he's nothing but a great guy, like I said. And I know him personally. He's one of my really good friends, and I'm sad to hear that go down for him. But, you know, he's nothing but a wonderful person. He's always [playing] with that smile.

Q. Football's a physical sport, sometimes a dangerous sport. Do you ever just put that part out, do you have to just put that out of your mind?

A. Of course. You're going to get hit. I mean, that's part of the game. You know, big plays, big hits. You just give and take. It's all about who comes out on top. We already know that different guys are gonna lay the wood, and we just gotta make them miss.

Q. Watching Trey Metoyer since he's gotten here and in the spring game last year, we talked to him on Saturday, it seems like a guy that's really matured a lot over this past six months?

A. I would say he definitely has, and he's taken that leadership role behind Kenny. And he's really trying to motivate the fellas and he's doing his job. He's blocking hard. He's playing to the whistle. You know, he's doing well.

Q. Has Kenny had those guys kinda on his hip all summer?

A. Oh yeah, most definitely. A lot of those guys look up to him, especially because he's been around the block. And he's made plays here and there and so they're just trying to follow that leadership role and do what he does and be like an image to him and just go out there and be themselves.

Q. Landry was telling us in Dallas that he's seen Kenny take more of a leadership role, take more time out of his schedule to go in the film room with those guys. Have you seen the same thing?

A. Oh yeah, we all have. You know, that's important at every position. We're really in that film room diligently trying to get better for our next opponent when it comes to UTEP, so I'm excited.

Q. I know you're doing running back stuff, but you're interested to see what happens there aren't you because that's such a huge part of this offense?

A. Oh yeah. I'm excited. We got a lot of good guys in there and they're all out there making catches. You know, it's amazing to see what they can do.

Q. Is there any chance that Trey Metoyer could catch more passes than Kenny Stills this year?

A. You never know. I mean, I'm sure they'll both go out there and make all the plays they can to help this offense. We want to win, and that's the final verdict.

Q. Has that ever been brought up between those two? Is there a competition going on?

A. I have no idea. I have no idea. Like I said earlier, receivers aren't my deal and us running backs are more focused on us right now.

Q. Back to your neck issue, did you ever have anybody in your family or back home that said, ‘Hey, we need to rethink this thing?'

A. No, not at all. They're behind me 100 percent and they know that I'm working to get healthy and I've been healthy. You know, I got through this summer, gained about eight pounds and I feel really good.

Q. Outside of the guys we've talked about already, is there anybody this summer that came in and really impressed you?

A. I would say Alex [Ross]. You know, I told you earlier, he's a runner and that boy can fly. I'm excited to see what he can do on the field getting some open field.

Q. You added another commitment over the weekend to add to your total?

A. I know the Cali trio has gotta be [at] about 24 or 27 or something like that. Gosh, just send them with us. You know, we're gonna bring them in. You know, I like to say we're down to earth guys and we tell it straight. And you know what I mean? A lot of people look for that. And I'm glad we got another dude on the team. You know, and we're not gonna bring in some guy that we don't want as well. We'll feed that back and we feel in him, we fill like he can contribute to the team and we want him.

Q. Does Coach Stoops ask your opinion, ‘Hey, is this a guy we want on this team?'

A. Not necessarily. I mean, maybe after they'll try to figure out how he is as a person. We show him the ropes, show him around town, that whole deal. But other than that, they don't really worry about it.

Q. But you said you're not gonna bring someone in we don't want on the team?

A. Of course. I mean, if they had bad problems before or something like that.

Q. Let me ask you this: You talk about the Cali trio, you guys have been known for a lot of good things and some bad. This seemed to be a really good summer for everybody, not pointing at anybody in particular. There were no mugshots in the paper, didn't seem like anything happened, no mugshots for you to put up on Twitter of your boys again. Was it a special summer?

A. It was a special summer because we all made this promise to each other that we're just gonna grind hard and finish the workouts and compete to the end. And that's something that we really instilled in ourselves. That's been our motivation. We're working out here for our families and we know we're just out here on the grind.

Q. If you guys get the blame for bad stuff going on, should you get some credit for turning it around a little bit?

A. I mean, it's all good. People remember the bad, but it's all right. We don't mind.

Q. Have you lent some of your expertise on recruiting to Cale, Coach Gundy?

A. No, not at all. That's another separate situation. Not even going into that.

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