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September 28, 2011Look at Brennan Clay's stat line and one number jumps out above all others. When you look in the row containing Clay's rushing totals, one column reads 'LONG'. That's the longest rush of the year for that particular running back.
Dominique Whaley's longest rush of the season is 35 yards. In fact, Whaley has several 30-plus yard runs this season.
But when you look at Clay's longest run of the season it reads: 12.
Does that shock the Sooners' starting running back?
"Big time," said Clay. "We've been working since two-a-days and the biggest thing is I want to be able to break one and go the distance and show these guys what I can do."
Clay is developing doubters and he knows it. Whether it's radio shows, message boards, or Twitter, the San Diego product hears the criticism.
"My family members are by my side and I hear it all the time. It's the haters," explained Clay. "I always say the haters are the best motivators. I know what I need to do on the field and I know what I can do."
Clay says it hasn't happened yet because he's still young, still trying to figure out the difference between being a patient runner and running hard.
"I think a lot of people are telling me, especially family members, that I've been too patient," Clay said. "Going through that film of Mizzou I can definitely see that on a few plays."
Clay is a runner who appears to be searching for his way. During the spring, he made a name for himself as a tougher-than-expected runner between the tackles. He's also the Sooners most versatile running back. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, but he can also run through tacklers at times.
Then again, when you've been upstaged by a walk-on, that's likely to wreak havoc on anyone's confidence.
Clay is trying to get back to the basics and just play football instead of over-thinking his situation.
"A lot of people are doubting me and I know what I can do," he said. "I'm going to stick to it and keep playing."
Clay will eventually break one open. He's proven too much since last spring not to be that type of runner. Those measly 12 yards won't stay next to the 'long' column forever.
"I know what I've got to do on the field, and that's make plays," said Clay. "I know being patient that in time it's going to come. It's going to come."