Finch’s curious career coming to an end at Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. – Roy Finch smiled and answered questions about his past.

He said he’s not frustrated. Said he’s not upset. Said nothing really bothers him anymore.

The most-curious career of Roy Finch is coming to an end, and Finch will wrap up his time as running back on the Oklahoma football team as one of the greatest enigmas during the past half-decade.

An ultra-quick running back with speed and make-you-miss ability but a talent wrapped in mystery, covered in secret sauce.

If anyone knows why Finch never became the guy we’ve seen dazzle on only the rarest of occasion, they aren’t saying. Even Finch himself can’t say for sure. Says he practices hard and has dedicated himself to the team. Coach Bob Stoops has said numerous times only the best players play – the ones who work hardest in practice.

“I feel like I have practiced well,” he said. “Really, really hard, even when I didn’t get the opportunities  I should have gotten. I have taken my habits to another level.”

As a freshman, Finch had five games where he had 10 or more carries. As a sophomore, Finch had 26 carries against Texas A&M and ran for 99 yards and a touchdown. The next week at Baylor, Finch ran it 17 times for 95 yards and the week after that, against Iowa State, Finch ran 15 times. Since then, he’s played in 21 games and not once ran it more than nine times.

Last season Finch had seven carries. Five against Florida A&M. Two against everyone else.

This season. Finch hasn’t touched it more than eight times in a game and has had five games with four or fewer carries.

What happened?

“I re-focussed myself and really made a dedication to my team,” Finch said. “The coaches know my talent and the players know my talent.

“I want to be more of a focal point in the offense, but the coaches have a game plan, but yeah I wish I could have 20 carries a game and two touches in the slot.”

His talent is undeniable. No one the team has better moves than Finch does. No one is saying why he doesn’t play, either. His name was brought up once again Monday in the weekly press conference. The answer from Stoops was the same. Coaches make decisions based on a number of factors.

Finch will play his last home game Saturday against Iowa State and will certainly draw a cheer from the crowd. After all, few play less and are talked about more than Finch.

“I know it’s out there,” Finch said of the constant chatter. “People tell me and tapping me on the shoulder in class, asking me. ‘I don’t know, bro, I’m trying to focus on this lecture.'”

In 39 games he has averaged 5.5 yards per carry and has 1,346 yards. Finch has 54 catches, too, but something has kept him off the field on a consistent basis. Maybe it was practice habits. Maybe it was a lack of understanding of the playbook.

“I don’t know,” Finch said. “I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating. I’ve gotten to the point where it doesn’t bother me anymore. My future is bright.”

Well, there’s four games left in Finch’s Oklahoma future. Beyond that? Maybe he will get on the field. Somewhere.

“I feel like my  time is coming for that,” he said. “I haven’t taken the hits. I feel like I’m fresh and I feel like that’s an upside for me.”

Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK