Post-Spring Breakdown: Part III

This is the third part of the post-spring practice breakdown. The previous two featured the quarterback and offensive line updates. In this one, Sooners Illustrated will provide analysis on the backfield. The next few days will include a breakdown of the receiving corps, the final offensive breakdown, as well as the defensive line, linebackers and secondary for defense.

1. Status of DeMarco Murray: Murray suffered a partial rupture of his left hamstring tendon on the opening kickoff of the Big 12 Championship game, forcing surgery, and he couldn't play in the BCS National Championship Game. Ever since, he has been in recovery mode, and apparently things are going pretty well. Coaches said he has made tremendous progress in the weight room, and so that's a bright spot for fans worried about his status for the fall.

2. Chris Brown: He has had a solid spring after leading the team in total rushing yards, yards per game and touchdowns a year ago. Brown totaled 1,220 yards, playing all 14 games last year, and he averaged 87.1 yards per game. He led the team's rushing attack with 20 touchdowns. Brown didn't play in the spring game, but he has had a good spring, all signs leading to yet another good year in 2009.

3. Young guys Justin Johnson and Jermie Calhoun: The two combined for only 23 yards on 33 carries in the Spring Game, but those numbers shouldn't fool you. They have had promising springs and have been impressive throughout the recent practices. They are poised to both be a force in the upcoming years for the Sooner backfield. Here's what OU head coach Bob Stoops had to say recently about the two.

"They're doing OK. Justin really did some nice things. He showed up and definitely made some nice runs, made some big plays. That was encouraging."—Stoops said about a recent scrimmage

4. Mossis Madu: He has been working a lot in the slot, and that is coming along well for Madu. But in the spring game, Madu was the one potentially bright spot for the backs, as he rushed nine times for 44 yards. In the game, the offense was smothered for 27 yards, so had it not been for Madu, the running backs would have had less than 20 yards. He continues to work on his versatility in the Sooners' offense and will be a major factor in the fall.

5. Matt Clapp: Fullback Matt Clapp sat out the spring game, but he is assuredly the starting fullback, and his progress has been good as well.

The Sooners' backfield seems to be a major strength coming out of the spring and approaching summer practice.

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