The Norman Transcript

Sports

October 4, 2012

Run game struggles in defeat

NORMAN — Oklahoma running back Damien Williams said Tuesday he’s ready for a bigger workload. The junior college transfer yearns to be a fourth-quarter battering ram when the Sooners face Texas Tech on Saturday.

“The more carries you get, you get used to everything, and I feel like if I get more carries, I’ll be more productive and more is gonna come out throughout the game,” he said.

History says the more work Williams — and the rest of OU’s running backs — gets, the better it will be for the Sooners on Saturday. The common trait that runs through all 11 of their losses dating back to the 2009 season has been an inability to firmly establish a running game. They weren’t outrushed in all of those games, but they were in nine of them.

The Sept. 22 loss to Kansas State was the ninth in that group. OU only averaged 3.4 yards per carry in the 24-19 loss to the Wildcats. It was in plain sight when the Sooners averaged just 2.8 yards per carry in the 41-38 loss to the Red Raiders last season.

The yards per carry averages from those losses were slightly better than what the Sooners have managed in their 11 losses over the last four seasons. They’ve averaged a woeful 2.52 per carry in those games.

“It’s something we have to be better at to be successful in this league,” guard Adam Shead said.

There’s multiple reasons why OU struggled running the ball in the losses. Some of it falls on running backs and the offensive line. In other games, early deficits forced the Sooners into a throwing mode.

Last year’s game against Texas Tech certainly fell in the latter category. Five-yard runs don’t do much good when you’re trying to erase a three-touchdown deficit in the second half. But they do wonders in the fourth quarter of one-possession game or when clinging to a lead.

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