He maximized Quentin Griffin’s ability as part of the 2000 National Championship team.
Then, along came Adrian Peterson, who set the NCAA freshman record for rushing yards with his 1,925 back in 2004.
Peterson finished just 73 yards shy of Billy Sims in his career and has since gone on to be a stud in the NFL, racking up a rookie record 296 yards his first season in 2007, along with four Pro Bowl Selections and a Pro Bowl MVP award in 2008, among other awards.
Now, the latest from the Stoops camp is DeMarco Murray.
Murray, as everyone knows, became the all-time leader in a number of Sooner categories last season, including points scored (390), touchdowns (65), all-purpose yards (6,718) and receiving yards for a back (1,571).
Flip to a year later, and he’s already shattering records set by former Dallas Cowboys great Emmitt Smith, two so far.
Murray’s 253 rushing yards against the St. Louis Rams eclipsed Smith’s previous record for most yards in a game (237) set back in 1993 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
That performance, too, combined with his two latest games, in which he racked up 74 and 139 yards against the Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, put him atop the Cowboys all-time leaders in yardage for a three-game stretch.
His 466 yards on the ground over the past three games ranks ahead of Smith’s 446 and fifth all-time by an NFL rookie, so he’s already doing great things.
“You know, I didn’t realize that,” Stoops said about the records. “I’ve heard little bits of it. I didn’t see any of the game Sunday, so just really happy for him. We all are. DeMarco is, as everyone has always heard me say it and I’ve got a lot of favorites, but he’s up there with all of them.”
Why’s that? Because of his demeanor and the way he carries himself.
“You talk about a very unselfish, team guy that was always about the team and a great worker here,” Stoops said.
And just to think, there were times when Sooner Nation questioned if Stoops and the coaching staff were using him too much in the offense.
A little moment for him to say I told you so?
“I’m not worried about that,” Stoops said. “You guys know that. Everybody always has their favorites, and I think it’s fair to say that we see practice more than anyone does and see our guys executing, analyzing and the only way to keep your job and to win guys is to play the ones that are doing it the best, the most consistently and the way you want them to do it.
“So, whenever a guy isn’t playing as much, all the favorites out there, obviously he’s not quite doing it as well as someone else, the way we see practice and all the things that lead up to the games.”
So, seeing Murray excel so quick is not surprising to Stoops.
But breaking Smith’s records like he is?
Well, that might be.
“I’m just really elated for him, all of us are that he’s doing so well and could we have seen it? I guess so,” Stoops said. “You know, I don’t know about breaking Emmitt Smith’s records. I guess I don’t want to say that, but we knew and we got to see him here for a long time, what an all-around excellent player he is. So, hopefully it all continues for him.”
Right now, there’s no reason to believe it won’t since the former Sooner has already racked up 539 yards and a touchdown on 80 attempts, good for 6.7 yards per carry in his first eight contests.
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