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The Oklahoma Sooners have established themselves as a high-powered, airborne offense over the past decade, thanks to big arms like Sam Bradford, Baker Mayfield, and Kyler Murray. Current starter Spencer Rattler has the skills to make that list, too, but he may not need to shoulder as much of the burden as quarterbacks from years past. Thanks to a dynamic running back duo in Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray, the entire offense should be able to flow through the running game. Play-action, bubble screens, vertical threats; all of it opens up when the defense has to respect the run, and it seems Rattler knows what he has this year lining up behind him.
“Eric’s very explosive, makes good cuts, can make you miss easily, great vision, and pretty fast,” Rattler said. “Then KB (Kennedy Brooks), he’s just very patient. He’s a vet, too, so he knows the game, knows our schemes; he’s very knowledgeable in what he does on the field so he is a good tool for us as well.”
Brooks returns to the field after opting out of the 2020 season, and Gray comes to Norman from Knoxville as a transfer from Tennessee.
Gray is the better receiver of the two, but Brooks is the better power runner between the tackles. Brooks might not produce the big plays in space that Gray will, but his dirty runs up the middle move the chains nonetheless. When he gets through the line, he should be nearly impossible to bring down after breaking to the second level.
Head coach Lincoln Riley is also salivating at the idea of two competent runners to rotate constantly so that neither ever gets too winded.
“They’re certainly two of our stronger weapons on the offense. We’ll see how it evolves; I think we have two starters, really. Hopefully, it will be like the runs we’ve had where we felt we had two great tailbacks we can attack people with.”
Two tough, athletic, veteran guys eating up yards and clock—it doesn’t get much better for a football coach, or quarterback. If Rattler can elevate his game this year, too, then don’t be surprised to see Oklahoma in the CFP come January.