Last June was good for Baker Mayfield and pretty much everyone involved with Oklahoma football. Except Kyler Murray.
Because Mayfield won an additional year of eligibility when the Big 12 voted to amend its rules for transfers, the decision spawned a state-wide fist pump – excluding the minority of Oklahomans who bleed orange.
Bob Stoops kept his quarterback. A new batch of receivers and running backs kept their leader to help guide them along what will be a difficult run toward a third consecutive Big 12 title.
The defense got a bigger margin for error and an experienced offensive line didn’t have to wonder if their efforts would be squandered by inexperience in the offensive backfield.
It was good for everyone. Except Murray.
He transferred from Texas A&M to Oklahoma in December 2015 and, as the rules stood then, was in position to take over as the Sooners quarterback beginning in 2017. That’s not happening anymore for the two-sport star, but if you’re expecting to see him on the field this season, you’re probably going to get that opportunity.
“I’m a firm believer if God’s blessed a guy with talent, go ahead and use that talent,” Stoops said Monday when asked about Murray.
Murray has been out of football and baseball for multiple weeks with a hamstring injury, but could return to practice this week and is expected to suit back up for the baseball team in this weekend’s series at Baylor.
Stoops admitted that Murray playing baseball wasn’t part of the original agreement when he was recruiting the transfer from College Station, but it’s happening. And considering Murray isn’t going to be the full-time starter, it’s easier to see Stoops signing off on it.
So, what can we expect from Murray once he’s healthy and the Sooners take the field?
Think of the way Oklahoma used Blake Bell and the infamous BellDozer way back in 2011 when the now-NFL tight end ran for 13 touchdowns as a freshman quarterback behind Landry Jones.
Murray isn’t a power back, but in his brief time as an Aggie, showcased his otherworldly elusiveness.
Murray is blessed with speed. Anytime he takes the field, there’s a good chance he’s the shiftiest guy in cleats. Oklahoma would be misguided to not find a way to use it. At the very least, it gives opposing defenses one more thing to study during game preparation during the week.
At the most, it offers a lethal complement to an already potent Sooners offense that will have one of the best offensive lines in the country blocking up front.
Maybe it’s short yardage. Maybe it’s a change of pace for a drive in every game or a flash in a game when the offense stumbles early.
Regardless, even if Stoops is playing it coy for now, expect to see plenty of Murray on the field in some capacity next fall.
(You can follow David Ubben on Twitter @DavidUbben)
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.