Archive for the ‘demarco murray’ Category

Linking Up: August 8

August 8, 2009

Odds and ends as Homerism relives the magic of Temptation Island on an all-day marathon on Fox Reality Channel:

*Man, I forgot what a drag some of the girlfriends on this show were. Valerie, the one whose boyfriend was an underwear model, seemed like she was about as much fun as a kick in the junk. Also, has there even been a worse reality show host than the poor man’s Mark Walberg?
*Injuries seem to be generating the most discussion early in camp for OU. RB DeMarco Murray has yet to receive full clearance to practice, limiting his work so far. This time it’s his hamstring that slowing him down. Just another reason to question how effective Murray will be this season.
DT DeMarcus Granger is going through drills, although he has yet to show he’s ready to work his way into the rotation.
*Homerism likes the prospect of juco transfer Cameron Kenney at punter. It would add a little game theory to fourth down for OU’s opponents. It’s not worth sacrificing performance at punter, obviously, but it would be pretty cool if it worked out.
*I can’t remember being less interested in a movie as I am in Julie & Julia.

*OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson should feel encouraged by the fact that Homerism agrees with his assessment of the o-line. Trent Williams is the best lineman he’s ever coached “by far,” though? Why didn’t he start at left tackle last year, then?
*Man, I can’t figure out if I love that song playing on the HoJo commercials or if it makes me want to punch a hole in the wall. I do know that rather than investing in a cool claymation commercial, the Howard Johnson chain of hotels would be better served fixing up their hotels so that their patrons didn’t suspect that the last guests in their rooms were Detectives Benson and Stabler.
*Something that I’ve been pondering in the last few days: Florida is about as consensus of a preseason number one as you’ll get. If we end up with a similar scenario at the end of the regular season this year as we did last season–a bunch of one-loss teams from the major conferences–does being the runaway favorite right now hurt the Gators?
Supposedly, it’s best to start the season high in the rankings and lose early. That way, you still have time to make your way back up the polls as the season advances. Consider last year when USC shot to the top of the polls after an early-season romp over Ohio State. After falling to Oregon State a week later, however, the pollsters seemingly eliminated the Trojans from contention.
Maybe it’s a leap, but is it possible that the voters hold such highly regarded teams to a higher standard?

2009 Oklahoma Season Preview: Running Backs

July 19, 2009

DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown certainly aren’t the best individual running backs in the country. That honor probably belongs to Jahvid Best or Jonathan Dwyer. But there isn’t a better 1-2 punch in college football than Oklahoma’s backfield tandem.

In his three years at OU, the senior Brown has proven himself to be as reliable as a Honda Accord. Homerism can’t recall one particularly memorable play from the Bayou State native’s career, but his consistency has been nonetheless remarkable.

In 2007, Brown’s longest run of the season was just 17 yards, yet he still averaged nearly four yards per carry. He was outstanding in key short yardage situations that year, averaging more than four yards per carry on third downs with three or fewer yards to go and converting 17 of 22 attempts for first downs in such situations. In fact, Brown gained a first down on 25 percent of his rushing attempts for the entire year.

Brown continued his steady play in ’08 and grew into more of an offensive threat, running for 20 touchdowns on the year. He raised his yards per carry up to 5.62 despite seeing his attempts increase by about 30 percent. That’s all while remaining a strong short-yardage option, turning about a third of his carries into first downs. The highlight of Brown’s junior year had to be his gutty performance in the national championship with Murray missing in action. Brown finished with 150 total yards in a losing effort.

(Let’s hope those unfamiliar don’t mistake the tailback for an infamous “runner” of the same name. Maybe OU’s Brown should consider going by “Christopher” to avoid any brand confusion and improve his marketability. But I digress.)

I’ve already written about the health issues facing Murray heading into ’09. If Brown is an Accord, Murray a Porsche–flashy, but always in the shop. (My apologies for the lame metaphor, but it seems apt.) The fact that the Las Vegas native has been cleared for full-speed workouts is promising. As good as Brown is, he lacks the explosiveness and breakaway speed Murray possesses when fully healthy. Murray also has proven himself to be a threat catching the ball out of the backfield, averaging nearly 13 yards on each of his 31 catches in ’08.
With Mossis Madu’s move to slot receiver, heralded redshirt freshman Jermie Calhoun will hold down the third-string spot. As a spread option quarterback in high school, Calhoun displayed a punishing running style. Obviously, how he dealt with a year off from game competition has yet to be seen. With all the promise he showed prior to arriving in Norman, though, don’t be surprised if Calhoun gets meaningful snaps this year.
Fullback Matt Clapp, a favorite of the OU coaching staff, is as nasty as his namesake. The first-team all-conference selection reminds Homerism of former OU fullback JD Runnels–he isn’t much of a threat running the ball, but he’s an outstanding lead blocker. He also has proven himself to be an underrated receiving threat, catching three touchdown passes last year. And we haven’t even touched on Clapp’s long, flowing locks yet.
Clearly, Murray’s health will play a major role in the effectiveness of OU’s running game this year. Besides being a dynamic playmaker in his own right, Murray’s full arsenal of skills nicely complement Brown’s move-the-chains game. Having both involved in the offense opens up the playbook and gives opponents that much more to prepare for. If Calhoun can contribute this year and offer offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson another weapon, all the better.

With Murray, Believe it When You See It

June 16, 2009

Turf toes. Kneecaps. Hamstrings. It seems like there has been no shortage of DeMarco Murray‘s body parts conspiring to keep him out of the OU lineup.

The past two seasons, an assortment of maladies have prevented the junior running back from finishing the season with the Sooners. Most recently, surgery on his hamstring knocked Murray out of the BCS title game against Florida earlier this year. However, in an interview published in today’s Daily Oklahoman, Murray declared himself “100 percent” for the upcoming season, stating that he has no hesitations about his health.

Obviously, Homerism likes what he’s hearing from the Sooners’ talented runner. I’d caution OU fans about getting their hopes up too quickly, though.

Similar assurances were given heading into last season. Murray put up outstanding numbers, going over 1,000 yards rushing while scoring a total of 18 touchdowns. Yet, anyone who compared Number 7 of 2008 with the dynamic tailback we saw out on the field in 2007 could tell something was holding him back. Something about the way Murray ran just seemed off–not as much burst, less authority, missing his breakaway speed. His yards per carry, a good measure of explosiveness, dipped slightly from 6.0 in ’07 to 5.6 in ’08. Overall, the stats remained stellar, but his play suggested he had yet to fully shake off the lingering effects of knee surgery.

The ultimate proof came in the ’08 Red River Shootout, when the Longhorn defense bottled Murray for six yards on seven carries. It was a far cry from the electric performance Murray gave in ’07, when he went for almost 130 yards on 17 attempts, an average of 7.5 yards per carry. His first RRS appearance also produced an exhilarating third quarter touchdown run that proved to be the turning point in the game. The second time around against UT, Murray looked like a shell of his gamebreaking former self.

Murray did appear to be coming around as the ’08 season wore on. He eventually began to break off long runs, such as his 70-yard touchdown gallop versus Texas A&M. He showed off some receiving skills that were missing in his first season, catching 31 balls for 395 yards and four TDs. Also, Murray proved to be a more powerful back in short yardage than Homerism expected.

That’s all well and good, but the Sooners need a playmaker in the backfield. Especially with OU’s losses at wide receiver. As good as Murray’s running mate Chris Brown is, he’s a move-the-chains back. Murray has to be a home run hitter. After another offseason rehabbing, let’s hope he really gets his swing back.