NORMAN — Losing Trey Millard to a season-ending knee injury transformed Oklahoma’s offense in 2013. It was without a fullback that could also catch and run the ball, as well as playing tight end.
OU adjusted to Millard’s absence late in the season. But the thinking heading into 2014 is they’ve found another fullback with Millard’s attributes.
Freshman Dimitri Flowers has turned a lot of heads since enrolling at OU in January. Mainly because the 6-foot-1, 240-pound fullback is reminiscent of Millard.
“It’s eerie to see how similar those guys actually are, even just the way they walk on the field. He’s not playing like a freshman and certainly not like a guy that enrolled in January,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said on Wednesday. “He’s got a special ability and special talent and it’s going to be fun to see him grow through training camp and how much we can use him and how versatile he’ll be able to be for us as a freshman.”
Finding a fullback for the 2014 season was not a make-or-break proposition. Aaron Ripkowski played at a high level in the last four games, playing both fullback and tight end. Having another 240-pound athlete that can line up at multiple spots gives OU more offensive diversity.
Much like Millard proved in 2010, Flowers is going to make an impact in his initial season.
“He’s given every indication that he’ll be ready for it,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.
Preparing for more tight ends: OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said last week that the Sooners faced more offenses using pass-catching tight ends than in 2012 and expects that trend to continue.
Bob Stoops believes that’s been a response to OU shifting to a 3-4 defense. He’s fine with defending more tight ends.