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Boomer Bio: Marshall Musil
An Inside Look At Fullback's Fortunes

Marshall Musil was all smiles after his big debut at the annual Red-White Game back in April. And why not?

“That felt good,” Musil said, his bruises and scratches still glowing after he ran 29 times for 92 yards in the rain at the end of spring practice.

It was the kind of performance Sooner fans will remember years from now just because, other than a few big passes, he was the only offensive weapon the coaches were willing to use.

Still, the affable Musil seized the opportunity and enjoyed the day. After a year spent in redshirt, he was just ready to play.

The last time he did, way back in 2008, he was a high school senior, rushing for 1,271 yards and 21 touchdowns on 110 carries. And catching 27 passes for 465 yards and six touchdowns. And making 92 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions on defense.

That was the kind of workload Musil became used to at LaCrosse (Kan.) High School. And it’s the kind of workload he missed on Saturdays last season, when he was a workhorse for the scout team offense.

“Marshall is a really good player,” coach Bob Stoops said. “We’ve known that, going against us last year on scout team. We like the way he runs, the way he blocks. He’s a bigger guy (6-foot, 220 pound). He’s going to do a lot for us in different ways. He’s a talented guy. He’s strong. He’s physical. He catches the ball well. He protects, and he runs the ball well. I just like guys that are versatile that way, and that can play special teams.”

In Kevin Wilson’s break-neck offense, Musil wants to be versatile and valuable. Substituting only slows things down, and if he can stay on the field as a blocker, as a receiver and maybe sometimes as a runner, all the better.

“I like to be able to do more than one thing,” Musil said. “It makes me feel more useful, I guess.”
Twenty-nine carries in the spring game is pretty useful, even if he did average just 3.2 yards per carry — even if he finished with a 45-yard burst late in the game.

“Well, I was waiting for that one,” Musil said. “I was hoping it would be closer to the goal line because if it was on the opposite 20 yard line then I knew someone was going to catch me. And sure enough, they did.”

Afterward, as Sooner fans took shelter from the drizzle, Musil shared an enduring personal moment with family they’ll never forget, whether his football career evolves into that of a blocker, a runner, a receiver, a tackler — or even just a career spring scrimmage and scout team star.

“I think I made my mom proud, that’s for sure,” he said with a laugh. “She was really happy after the game. She gave me a big hug.”

It was at that moment that Musil and his mom, Connie Weber, thought back to his dad, Terry Musil. Terry, a one-time football coach, tragically lost his battle with cancer when Marshall was little, and his mom raised Marshall and his sister by herself.

“She was a single parent for 10 years,” Musil said. “That takes a lot of sacrifice.”

Last year, Musil’s mom, his sister and his stepfather, Tim Weber, drove almost five hours to Norman each Saturday to watch him stretch, warm up and stand on the sideline. Maybe this year, their drives will have a greater reward.

“I’ve gotten all the plays down,” Musil said. “I know where to go. It’s just being able to stay on my track and trust the offense of Coach Wilson, trust the fullback position, trust the concepts that he has for me.”

Musil said he can’t be the next Matt Clapp — “I don’t really have the hair. I guess not many people do,” he joked — but is starting to warm up to his expected role as an effective blocker.

But will he ever love it like Clapp, J.D. Runnels and other OU fullbacks have in the past?

“Eh, I don’t know. Love’s a strong word,” he said. “I don’t know. Maybe not love. But I’m liking it a lot more now that I’m getting the technique down.”

And if he doesn’t become the world’s greatest blocker? Maybe he can run the football like he did in high school — like he did that melancholy, rainy Saturday at Owen Field. OK, maybe not.

“It felt good to run the ball again, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “But it’s a whole new game. They’re a lot bigger here, a lot faster.”

(Editor's Note: This story appears in Sooner Spectator's 2010 Football Preview Issue that is due out in stores on June 18. To read more or subscribe, call 1-405-488-0242)