Many Sooner coaches will tell you that the one of the best football players on the team is junior fullback J.D. Runnels. Runnels is a team leader from his fullback position and does the dirty work blocking for Heisman hopefuls Jason White and Adrian Peterson.
However, his receiving skills are starting to get appreciated and he has always been one of the best special team players on the squad. Yet, you will never hear J.D. brag on himself or ask for publicity, but he has became one of the main voices on the team. And as the Sooners get ready to go after the Big 12 Championship Runnels is the perfect guy to go to for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: I have always heard about the workouts once the guys come back from turkey day. Did Coach Schmidt get after you pretty good on Sunday?
J.D: "He got after us. He definitely got every bit of giblet gravy, turkey and pie out of system. He got all of it. I think we are ready to go now."
JH: How does it feel that you can finally focus on a game that you have been working to get back to for an entire year?
J.D: "It is good to get back to this point undefeated. But like everybody has been saying this past year, we have realized that we had the talent to get back to this point. "
(OU Defensive End Coach Bobby Jack Wright jumps in at this point and says "James, that is the very best football player on our team right there. and I don't know who knows it, and I will whip anybody that doesn't agree with me." And with that J.D. resumed his commentary with me with a big smile on his face.)
"Coach Wright is a great guy and I appreciate what he just said. Like I was saying, it is great to be 11-0, but we all thought we could get back to this position, because of last year we have something to prove this year."
JH: What do you know about Colorado?
J.D. "I know they play really sound defense. They may give up a lot of yards statistically, but they don't give up a lot of points. Their defense plays really tough. They had been struggling, but now they are on a three game win streak. They come into the game on a roll."
JH: They are a strange team defensively in that they are last in the Big 12 in just about every statistical category, but they have won seven games and those two stats don't go together very often?
J.D. "That tells you a lot about their team. They don't allow deep balls, and it seems like they will give you five to ten yards at times. They come up with big plays off of the offenses' mistakes. Nebraska turned the ball over to them a few times and the defense came up really clutch. I think that a lot of the things that we want to accomplish in the game will be because of our offense. I think as long as we don't shoot ourselves in the foot we will be fine."
JH: Is Colorado a physical team?
J.D: "Definitely. Colorado is always a bigger, broader physical team and they out tough people. I think that is what Kansas State did to us is that they brought the hammer and the nails last year. We have to reverse that. I think we will be successful."
JH: There are always wrinkles within the OU offense in the post season, so can we expect a J.D. pass or something?
J.D. "You can expect a little bit of everything, plus me throwing the ball back to Jason and having him run 70 yards for a touchdown. That would be about the only thing that he hasn't done in his career here. I don't think he has ever caught a pass, but he has good hands. I am sure that he would catch it and now he might be able to run it in. No, we are not going to do anything new. We are going to be like my old high school team at Carl Albert and just take it to them and pound it down their throats."
Runnels says Sooners still have something to prove
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
Video: Joe Mixon with historic outing for OUOU coach Bob Stoops talks about the huge performance running back Joe Mixon had in Sooners 66-59 win at Texas Tech.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 2:50 PM
Home sweet home in Lubbock for Baker MayfieldA sweeter reunion there couldn't have been for OU quarterback Baker Mayfield in his return to Lubbock.
Sooners IllustratedSaturday at 11:23 PM
Video: Bob Stoops after 66-59 win at TechOU coach Bob Stoops' opening statement following Sooners wild 66-59 victory at Texas Tech.
Sooners IllustratedSaturday at 10:43 PM
Video: Baker Mayfield on record-setting nightOU quarterback Baker Mayfield talks about his record-setting seven-touchdown performance against Texas Tech in his return to Lubbock.
Sooners IllustratedSaturday at 10:30 PM