Spring is finally over for the Oklahoma Sooners. It’s time to look toward preseason camp and the 2016 season. But first, we’ve got to look back in order to look forward.
Oklahoma capped its spring practice season with the Red-White game, showcasing a handful of good and a handful of bad as well.
Over the next week, Sooners Illustrated will break down each position. We’ll see what we’ve learned and what we still need to find out. We’ll cap it with a post-spring depth chart prediction.
Here it goes.
Running back/full back
What we know?
There wasn’t really much new to learn in the spring about Oklahoma’s backfield. Samaje Perine was out after ankle surgery, but it’s not like he’s going to lose his position as a starter. Dimitri Flowers is the clear starter at fullback, although he’ll still be used sparingly as a ball carrier – if only to catch touchdown passes. Spring showed that the coaching staff might have a little bit more trust in highly talented sophomore Joe Mixon. That might not mean very much with Perine ahead of him.
One players that stuck out was Rodney Anderson. Coaches thought he would play a big role last year before a knee injury ended his season early. Now, he looks like a player confident enough to be the future of Oklahoma’s backfield. His running style is a bit unique. He’s a long-strider with solid acceleration. At times in the Red-White game, Anderson still looked a hair slowed by injury, which is no surprise since his surgery was less than nine months ago.
Oklahoma’s running back group has very little holes.
What we need to know?
Health is really the only issue facing the running backs at Oklahoma. Perine will be ready, and Anderson should be fine. What will be most interesting is how the carry rotation breaks down. Will Perine carry less of a load to save his ankles and give Mixon and Anderson a bigger piece of the pie? It might not be a bad idea and would give Oklahoma even more potency in his backfield.
Perine had twice as many carries as Mixon last season, and Perine is less than 1,100 yards and 20 yards from the top spot in Oklahoma’s record book in both categories. He’s on pace for the most career carries in Oklahoma history – even more than Steve Owens’ 958.
Perine needs a break.
How will Oklahoma give it to him?
What the coaches are saying?
“Joe’s strength and speeds continues to improve. He always has excellent patience and vision in the hole. He continues to do all those things.” – Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops on running back Joe Mixon