One-on-One With Desmond Roland

ARLINGTON, Texas — After taking over as the feature back against Iowa State, junior running back Desmond Roland ran for 219 yards and four touchdowns. His emergence was a major factor in Oklahoma State turning around its offensive production, as Roland now has 781 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Wednesday, Roland talked about his breakout season and the reasons behind his success.

Going back to before the season, did you have a feeling your time was going to come like it has?
Roland: I had a feeling it was going to come. I just was staying positive, working hard, staying on my grind. I wasn't worried about when it was going to come or how it was going to come, I just knew when my name was called, I was going to have to take advantage of it.

Was there a formal conversation when you were told you were going to start carrying a heavier load, or did it just happen in the course of a game?
Roland: It's no conversation. They just say ‘Hey, you're going to start next week.' My position coach, coach (Jemal) Singleton said, ‘Hey, this is your opportunity.' In my head, I was like, ‘I got to take full advantage of it. I got to make something happen.' I wasn't expecting the game (against Iowa State) to go like that, but it did, and our offensive line just kept working and I kept making plays. It all just clicked and that's what we're hoping will happen this week.

What did it mean to play so well in your first start?
Roland: It helped my confidence out a lot. That's the most important part. I didn't know what to expect, because I was like four plays here or four plays there, five or six carries a game to 20, 30 carries a game. I didn't know what to expect from it. After that first game, it built my confidence up and it just kept working out every game, so I'm at a good confidence level right now.

What's been the biggest thing that has allowed you to have so much success?
Roland: Our offensive line. They started working harder in practice and that led them to playing well in the game. Early in the season we really didn't work hard as an offense, and that's why we were struggling. We started working hard and it just started clicking and we started putting up the numbers.

If you look at how your offensive line has shuffled around but now seems to finally have the right combination of guys, what does that say about you coaches?
Roland: We've got some great coaches, Coach Wick has been in this game for a long time, he's the best in the Big 12, probably the top o-line coach in the country. He knows what to do to make everything jell. Coach (Mike) Yurcich, he knows what he's doing, It's his first year, so he's had to learn on the move.

What's your mindset with only a few days before the game?
Roland: No pressure, just another game to go win, a game to play in front of my friends and family. Another game for the seniors, for them to go out on a good note. It's not about me right now, it's about us. We have to go out and handle our business and end our season on a good note.

How would you describe the Missouri defense?
Roland: Probably the best we have faced so far, but it's nothing we can't handle. We aren't worried about it. We have to be ready to come out and play a physical game for four quarters.

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