Photo by Jay Beauchamp/Creative Storm Media
By Michael Kinney
NORMAN –Despite its convincing 49-21 victory over UCLA Saturday, the mood in the Oklahoma locker room was a somber one. Starting tailback Rodney Anderson left the field injured and his prognosis was unknown.
On Sunday the Sooners confirmed that tailback Rodney Anderson was done for the season with a knee injury which he suffered against the Bruins.
“We’re heartbroken for him,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said of Anderson. “He’s overcome so much in his career, and if anybody can do it again it’s Rodney. He’s played a lot of great football and has a lot more ahead of him. He’s just a tremendous person and player and we’ll miss him on the field. But we know he’ll be with us every step of the way as a team captain, and that other players will step up in his place.”
The injury occurred on the final play of the first quarter when Anderson was tackled by the Bruins. He was taken to the OU locker room and didn’t return to action.
Riley said he talked to Anderson’s family and they have decided not to specify what the injury is. But According to offensive lineman Ben Powers, the team knew the severity of the injury before the game was over.
In his four seasons at Oklahoma, Anderson has been injury plagued. He suffered a broken leg in 2015 and a fractured vertebra in 2016. He has played a total of 14 games.
“The injuries he has had have been isolated,” Riley said. “It’s not like the guy has gone out there and had four or five knee injuries on the same one. And the way this kid can rehab, the physical specimen that he is, I told him I don’t think this injury will have any impact on the rest of his career in football.”
However, doesn’t know where Anderson will be playing next season.
“I fully expect that he will play (next year),” Riley said. “He will probably have a decision to make if it’s going to be at this level or the next level. That will be an interesting one, but one that doesn’t have to be made now.”
With Anderson out, the Sooners will rely on a committee of runningbacks until one separates from the pack. They include sophomore Tre Sermon, senior Marcelias Sutton and freshman T.J. Pledger and redshirt freshman Kennedy Brooks.
“As the backs here go forward, it’s going to be based on performance,” Riley said. “Kind of like we were last year with a large part of the season. If all those guys are performing well, but nobody is totaling outplaying another, I’m sure we will play a bunch of those guys. If we get a guy that gets hot and really starts playing at a high level, we’ll certainly feed him more reps and with that more opportunities. We feel good about those four.”
Anderson’s production could
Murray says he has faith in whoever lines up behind him. They will get their first chance to show it Saturday when the Sooners travel to Iowa State.
“This is the University of Oklahoma. We have to reload,” Murray said. “Next man steps up and I believe we have the players to do that. It’s obviously tough losing him, but we have guys that have to step up. You can’t replace a guy like Rodney, but I don’t think we’ll have to. We have a lot of guys in the offensive room that can make plays and we will see guys step up. Nobody thought Rodney was Rodney until what he did last year. We have guys that can replace him, I feel. I’m not too worried or not whether we will be able to replace him.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider
Story first ran in the Yukon Review