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November 1, 2013

HD: Millard leaves significant hole in Sooners offense

Untitled Document

The silence was surreal. A night to celebrate would be slightly overshadowed.

As players climbed up out of the pile late in the fourth quarter of Oklahoma's 38-30 victory over Texas Tech. There remained one player on the ground. Both hands clutched to his knee, Oklahoma's 'Mr. Everything' Trey Millard had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Just moments before the crowd of nearly 85,000 had reached a fever pitch as Millard rumbled down the west sideline of Owen Field. A 14-yard pitch and catch from best friend and quarterback Blake Bell that would include a signature hurdle over Texas Tech defense back Bruce Jones.

Oklahoma would score one play later on a Damien Williams 3-yard touchdown run. One play after that Millard would tear his ACL running down on kickoff coverage.

Now shelved for the rest of the season and with surgery in his near future SoonerScoop.com's video feature SCOOPHD takes a look back at five different ways Millard contributed to the Sooners success offensively over the past three and a half years.

And certainly a validation of why the 6-foot-2, 253-pound fullback, tight end, and special teams extraordinaire had become known as one of the most versatile players in the country.

SCOOPHD FEATURE: TREY MILLARD

video by Eddie Radosevich

A CLOSER LOOK

In this section SoonerScoop.com's Eddie Radosevich explains the reasoning in breaking up the highlights in five different categories.

5. JUMP TO IT:

In hindsight could Millard's final carry/reception been any more appropriate? Heck, you could go all the way back to the whole final series that Millard was in before suffering the season ending injury. After blocking for a couple of carries for Roy Finch, Millard slid out to the boundary and rumbled down the sideline to the Red Raider 3-yard line. Why so remarkable? The hurdle of Tech defensive back Bruce Jones is a good place to start. Since making the highlight reels a year ago at the Cotton Bowl versus Texas, the hurdle has become a signature move of Millard's. We'll have more on this later but it's a good place to start and that's why we put 'Jump to it' at No. 5.


4. THE TOUCHDOWN MAKER

Rarely fullbacks are given media attention. For Millard that was quite different. There was uproar on the streets of Norman when Millard was left off the all-conference team at the beginning of the season. Coaches raved of his presence week in and week out. Fans wanted to see more of him with the ball in his hands. While defensive backs and linebackers of the opposition were not quite so eager. Millard ends his Oklahoma career with 13 touchdowns, the longest coming on a 61-yard rumble two years ago against Kansas State. During the current season, Millard had found the endzone once through the air (1-yard reception vs. West Virginia) and once by land (8-yard rushing touchdown vs. TCU). While most of his workload was done in between the endzones the times he did find the pay dirt usually came at the most opportune time. Making 'The Touchdown Maker' No. 2 in the countdown.


3. FAT DADDY SPECIAL:

While finding the endzone was one of the ways in which Millard could be found on highlights. Section No. 3 in this SCOOPHD feature we take a look at the bruiser of a runner Millard becomes when turning his shoulders north and south. Perhaps the lesser of two evils for opposing defenders that are tasked with bringing down Millard. With the option of being hurdled thrown out the window that leaves only one option. And you better 'man up'. As seen in the video footage there has been a number of players that have tested this equation. With not many finding very much success. In a game that comes down to inches, Millard's ability to gain those precious yards after contact made him that much more valuable. Simply put it was the difference between a 4th and 1 and a new set of downs. Important for those that like moving the chains.


2. THE FULLBACK:

For all of the positives that Millard brought to the offense with the ball in his hands, it's almost insane to think his worth was actually more valuable when without the rock. Eight games into the 2013 campaign an identity for the Sooners offense had finally starting coming together and Millard was playing a starring role. The lead blocker for stable of running backs, while ranking No. 2 in the conference in rushing offense averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Looking back at his 48 career games you will find Millard as the key cog in nearly every big run. Want proof? Checkout Millard's work (in the SCOOPHD video) keying long runs for Damien Williams vs. UTEP (2012), vs. Texas (2012). The 'eye in the sky, doesn't lie'.


1. THE HURDLE - TEXAS:

San Francisco 49s Dwight Smith has The Catch. Roy Williams can hang his hat on The Superman play. Millard delivered his moment a year ago. Oddly enough it would come on the very same field as William's; some twelve years later. Already rolling and with a 20-2 second quarter lead, Millard put 'the hurdle' on the map as he took a Landry Jones swing pass into the boundary and squeezed through a pair of Longhorn defenders before hurdling Horn defensive back Mykkele Thompson. The play would be talked about and replayed for weeks and would vault Millard into almost a 'cult like' status amongst bigger 'backs who dream of the day they make their own head turning play. For Millard it was a signature highlight for an all-time great that, unfortunately, saw his collegiate career cut short because of injury.



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