Most Important Player Against West Virginia

An open week gives a reporter all kinds of license to daydream about what is going on with the team they cover. I can honestly say that during the week without a game that I had premonitions about two Cowboys, both seniors from Tulsa Union High School. The two are receiver Tracy Moore and running back Jeremy Smith.

Smith has 37 carries for 176 yards with six touchdowns. He is averaging 4.8 yards a carry. Those are solid numbers, but solid is not good enough for Oklahoma State fans. Honestly, during the open week I was approached several times with concerns about the run offense.

I must apologize to those individuals because I did not share their concern. Now, if injuries continue along the offensive line or if Daniel Koenig doesn't make it back, which he will as soon as this week, or if there are injuries in the backfield, then I'll join in on the concerns.

In the meantime, add in the quarterback run game and understand that, like Tracy Moore, there may be a little bit of a delayed fuse with the running game that is about to burn up.

"Jeremy has played well for us so far and has been a good leader," said head coach Mike Gundy. "As we progress through the season he will have to carry the load for us more often."

From quarterback J.W. Walsh to the offensive linemen blocking for him, Smith's teammates believe in the fifth-year senior. Smith doesn't have a lot of Barry Sanders in him. He is a point-to-point runner as evidenced by his answer to his biggest run ever. It was a 74-yarder through a huge hole in which he outraced the Texas defense to the end zone.

I think more of those opportunities will soon come his way.

"Jeremy has been very consistent, and he works hard. He is great on the practice field, which correlates to production on Saturdays," said offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. "He works hard all through the week. He's a great leader, he holds onto the ball really well and understands pass protection. He is a complete back."

"I can't do it without the offensive line, J.W. (Walsh), and really, the coaches that call the plays," said Smith with humility. "My job is just to go out there and perform to the best of my ability. I can't do that without those guys. Whenever I get in the end zone, all the credit goes to them."

Smith is speaking the truth. In short-yardage situations he is a hole puncher that can sharpen his elbows and knees and make his own hole. But to get into the secondary and make it a real foot race, which Smith is more than capable of winning, he needs a big hole to really bust into the secondary.

Getting Koenig back and with some of the added depth on the offensive line then those opportunities will come along soon.

"Even though this is Big 12 play, we've still got to do the little things right. West Virginia is a pretty good team, but we need to take care of business," summed up Smith.

Business this week needs to be the offensive line creating a huge hole and Smith busting his tail through it. Call it a premonition.


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