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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Loss of Murray Big

Losing dynamic running back DeMarco Murray for the upcoming title game with Florida is big, no matter how Sooner fans try to slice it.

Did Murray seem to have lost a step this year? Yes. Did Chris Brown lead the team in rushing? Yes. Did third-stringer Mossis Madu acquit himself well when pressed into duty this year? Yes.
All that ignores the standout sophomore's biggest contributions to OU's offense. While Brown is a solid, between-the-tackles runner, he's certainly no the home run threat that Murray is. Brown rarely outruns defensive backs in the open field and simple does not have Murray's speed and shiftiness. Likewise, Murray is a very good receiver who can make things happen after the catch, where as Brown lacks that explosiveness in the passing game. Offensive coordinator employed shotgun sets in which Murray split out wide, forcing defenses to account for him catching the ball on the run and going over the middle. That's one less thing the Florida D will need to prepare for.
Additionally, the Sooner coaching staff clearly favors a two-back rotation, using Brown and Murray in situations suited to their differing skill sets. Judging by how many snaps he played in the Big 12 championship, Wilson and head coach Bob Stoops do seem to have confidence in Madu. However, do they trust him enough to give him significant work against the ferocious Florida defense?
In the end, the loss of Murray puts that much more pressure on quarterback Sam Bradford and the OU passing game to carry the Sooner offense. It also means the heat will be on Wilson to devise creative formations and plays to compensate for his best runner's absence. There are few coordinators more capable of doing that than the Broyles Award winner, but that isn't exactly reassuring.