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Sometimes and athlete comes to a school and shows flashes of being a great player. At times that player does onto build gaudy numbers and climbs the list of greats at that school. At a place like Oklahoma, there are opportunities to come in and shine but one must do it while competing against some of the best athletes in the country.
Case in point is Roy Finch. The Niceville, Florida native came to Oklahoma with comparisons to another great running back to play for the Sooners in Quentin Griffin. Of course Griffin went on to play for the Denver Broncos of the NFL so Sooner fans across the country saw the same opportunity for Finch.
For Finch, once he stepped on the field, he showed everyone just how talented he was by making some Griffin like moves and making defenders look as inept as they did trying to tackle Griffin. But entering into his junior year, Finch has not made the impact or splash that Griffin did and is now looking to find his way onto the field and help make plays for OU’s 2012 squad.
“I am being used in a lot of different ways and I am working in the slot and still playing some running back but I am just trying to do what is best for the team at this point,” said Finch. “The coaches have really tried to put me in spots where I can get spacing and do what I can to help out the team. Playing slot if a lot different than playing running back because I have to read coverages out there and it has been difficult for me but I have been in my playbook really hard and I am getting it down slowly and it has been fun so far.”
Finch is a natural running back that has always been good at catching the ball and now he is trying to become a natural receiver than can run the ball. Finch says that so far, it feels really natural to him.
“It feels good but the only thing that I was struggling with was that I was having to read coverages as I was running the route and that proved difficult at times but my comfort level increased with the more reps I got. Watching film helps but until you actually get out there, it’s a different speed and you have to adjust but like I said, it’s been fun and I just try to do the best that I can and just play ball.”
Finch says that although he will play more slot that he feels comfortable at playing both positions (Receiver and running back).
“Once I get the ball in my hands, I feel very natural and smooth and once I get into open space, I know what to do and it helps me see the field better, said Finch. There are more opportunities at the slot position to get the ball in my hands and find open space and I can make one guy miss and then I have a wide open area to run. At the running back position, everything is more in a closed box and you have to work your way through people.”
Having quick moves is a great quality to have when playing the slot position or any position on the field for that matter but Finch cautions that sometimes, being quick can be a liability as well.
“Ryan (Broyles) played in the slot here for three years and he was very patient in the way he ran routes and now Kenny (Stills) always watches film of Ryan and how he played so I just stand back and try and emulate what Kenny does and go from there,” said Finch.
“If you have those quick moves, it makes you want to use them and get ahead of yourself at times and you have to be patient and let things develop or you will run right into a tackle.”
Two years ago when talking with running backs coach Cale Gundy, he made a statement about Finch and his tendency to run back to the middle of the field and get back into traffic. That didn’t bode well for him since he is small in stature (5’7”, 175). Fast forward to 2012 and Finch says that he understood what Coach Gundy was saying and after watching film, it was evident that his field vision was poor then.
“I see what Coach was talking about and he was right,” said Finch. “I have learned that when it’s time for me to get out of bounds that is what I am going to do because it’s a long season and me being small, it works top my advantage to get as much yards as I can but no when it’s time to save my body from the big hit.”
Finch will see playing time this year and don’t be surprised if a few snaps aren’t at tailback in certain situations but rest assured the electric little back from Florida will still keep the fans on their feet when he touches the ball no matter how he gets it in his hands.
This post has been edited 4 times, most recently by Alan H on 8/17/2012 at 7:07 AM
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