The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

August 25, 2013

Smith gets some competition for Oklahoma St. starting running back job

(Continued)

STILLWATER —

“It’s all about conditioning,” said Smith, who came into fall camp looking a little leaner than past seasons. “I won’t have to keep cooling my body down then working it back up to go back in there. I will always be warm.”

Standing in the way of the Tulsa Union product is Roland.

“We push each other every day because we know that at the end of it, we’re both going to have to play with the offense we run,” Roland said. “It’s just motivation between the two of us. ... I don’t see it as a competition. With this offense, we’re a tempo offense and it’s real fast paced. So I’m going to play eventually and get my reps, and he’s going to get his reps.”

Having played the third-string role the past two years, Roland got the chance to see some time on the field in OSU blowouts. In limited action last year, Roland had 46 carries for 301 yards — for a team-best 6.5 average for runners with more than 15 carries — and four touchdowns.

“Getting to play some got my nervousness out early. Going out in the third or fourth quarter still helps you as a player — shows you the game speed,” Roland said. “I now know what to look forward to coming into the season.”

As for the bounty of backs slotted to vie for Roland’s previous position RB3, there will be just as much competition as for the starting spot.

Sophomores Caleb Muncrief, who had 14 carries for 57 yards in mop-up time, and Corey Bennett, who rushed for 91 yards on 12 attempts with a touchdown, will have to fend off freshmen Rennie Childs and Corion Webster — who have impressed some coaches in the fall camp.

“All of those guys are going out there every day and giving us competition,” Smith said. “They all push me to work even harder and that’s what I’m doing. I know what they are doing, so I know how hard I have to work to be that guy.”

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