The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 27, 2013

OU looking to get Millard more involved

by John Shinn, CNHI News Service

NORMAN, Okla. — A reporter pointed out to Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops Tuesday at Big 12 Football Media Days that replacing wide receivers Kenny Stills and Justin Brown leaves available 155 receptions from last season’s offense.

Stoops turned to his right, looked at fullback Trey Millard and informed him of the offense’s new direction.

“Trey, you’re getting 150 more plays next year,” Stoops joked. “You’re getting all those balls that Kenny and Justin caught.”

Obviously, the 259-pound Millard isn’t going to lineup at wide receiver and the 150-catch statement was in jest, But getting the senior more involved as a true skill player is an offensive goal this season.

Millard averaged 6 yards per carry and 11.2 yards per reception last season.

He doesn’t expect to be the focal point of the Sooners’ offense this season, but he does expect to display more of his skills.

“There may be more chances to touch the football,” he said.

Those chances should be there because Millard has expanded his skills every season. First out of the backfield, and then last season he showed he can play tight end.

The offseason was spent trying to become a reliable tight end for his senior season. Oddly enough, it was pass-catching that was his focus.

“You never think you are good enough and always focus on them, especially as tight end with the hand down,” he said. “It’s definitely a different blocking style and technique than blocking in the backfield. It’s been a focus in the offseason for me — working on blocking. More end-line and hand down.”

The effort is geared toward becoming an every-down player, which OU can use in any formation or personnel package.

OU fans have been asking for three years why Millard doesn’t get the ball more. It’s a good question, because he seems to produce an ample amount of big plays.

Texas still is having nightmares after Millard averaged 20.5 yards per touch in the Sooners’ 63-21 victory in the Red River Rivalry last season.

Stoops points to all the things Millard does without the ball that make his value indispensable.

“When you watch him on plays he isn’t carrying, he’s knocking the heck out of somebody or chasing someone. He does need to be spelled out of the game. And he’s our best special teams guy. Who’s going to take his place? Who’s blocking and doing the things he usually does?” Stoops said. “I think it’s fair to say we’ve done a pretty good job of giving him opportunities and having success with the way he plays. I don’t know that we’ll deter from it very much, because I don’t know that you can.”

But Millard has handled everything put on his plate for three seasons. The senior only has one year left. Better get all you can get out of him.

After all, Millard’s proven he’s much more than a one-trick pony. He’s ready to play anywhere offensive coordinator Josh Heupel wants to put him.

“I feel comfortable moving around. That’s where I love playing. I love playing all the aspects,” Millard said. “I just love moving around and throwing out different aspects that defenses have to focus on.”