The running back position at the University of Oklahoma has long been an important piece of the identity of the program. Dating back to Steve Owens and Billy Sims through Quentin Griffin, Adrian Peterson, and DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma Football has a long history of fantastic running backs that have rolled through Norman.
Although it wasn’t always as effective as it needed to be during Lincoln Riley’s tenure, the Sooners remained a good running team, most recently led by Kennedy Brooks and, in 2020, Rhamondre Stevenson.
Stevenson is running the rock for New England and Brooks with the Eagles heading into 2022. Now, the Oklahoma Sooners turn to Eric Gray, who transferred in from Tennessee last offseason.
Gray had a solid season for the Sooners, considering how little he was used in the second half of the year.
After leading the Sooners in rushing against the Nebraska Cornhuskers with 15 carries and 84 yards, Oklahoma’s rushing attack struggled the next week against West Virginia’s stout defensive line. After getting 15 touches against the Mountaineers, he didn’t receive double-digit touches until the Sooners’ win in the Alamo Bowl.
The experienced man in the backfield, Eric Gray is about to get his shot to lead the way at running back for the Sooners.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby shared his thoughts on Gray at OU Media Day, “Eric’s done an unbelievable job. I’ve said this since being around him for five days. The guy’s a pro. Everything he does is in a professional manner. So, could not be more excited about where he’s at and what he’s going to be able to do for us this fall.”
And Gray is excited for what Jeff Lebby’s offense could allow him to showcase. “I think this offense was exactly what I was praying for. I think this offense is perfect to show my versatility, being able to run inside zone, outside zone, being able to catch the ball out of the backfield, run routes. I think this offense was made for me. I say and it’s definitely perfect. Coach Lebby has done a great job of teaching me the little minor details on the offense. Making sure I’m lined up correctly, making sure I’m doing everything right but it’s definitely going to be good.”
Up to 211 pounds after an offseason with Jerry Schmidt, Gray looks like a back that’s ready to take on the responsibility of being the Oklahoma Sooners starting running back. As we saw in glimpses last year, Gray will bring an explosiveness to the Sooners offense.
With the full trust of the offensive coaching staff, get ready for some fireworks in 2022.
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