The Cowboys have three tailbacks, two fullbacks and a host of offensive lineman that can enter the game at any time and leave no drop-off.
OSU's offensive line stands deeper than it has in recent years. Starters Matt Hardison and Ben Buie left the game against Louisiana-Lafayette, replaced by the likes of freshman Corey Hilliard, Doug Koenig and Caleb Noble, and the Cowboys still opened holes for Vernand Morency and kept Josh Fields safe.
"We didn't miss one beat," junior guard Sam Mayes said. "Coach (Chuck) Moller does an excellent job of getting these guys time earlier in the season, so when they do have to come in and play a full game, they can come in and play just like a starter does."
The Cowboys also have three starting-caliber running backs in their arsenal.
Backup tailbacks Seymore Shaw and Vernand Morency have both proven they have the strength, speed and vision to be effective rushers in Division I.
Shaw posted a 100-yard game against
Morency, one of the oldest sophomores around at 23, recently left little doubt about his abilities. He used a combination of hard running and pure speed and agility to pick up 189 yards against the Ragin' Cajuns.
"He's strong as an ox," the
350-pound Mayes said. "In some lifts, he's stronger than me. Now that kid is
amazing. He's kind of like having Tatum
And who can forget
While coach Les Miles decision to
It will continue to be the weak point in an otherwise strong rushing game for OSU.
The final aspect in OSU's ground game is the fullback position. The Cowboys finally got senior Tim Burrough back from a shoulder injury for the ULL game. Burrough wasted no time letting everyone in the stands and on the field know he was 100 percent by catching two passes for 24 yards and blocking up to par.
"We look forward to having, really, two quality fullbacks to put in the game," Miles said. "Obviously Timmy Burrough will be one."
The other fullback OSU can count on is the one that replaced Burrough during his recovery, sophomore Shawn Willis. Willis has rushed for 35 yards and his first two collegiate touchdowns this year. He has also improved as a run and pass blocker. Willis definitely has a bright future with OSU.
The test for the OSU rushing game
comes this Saturday against
"Their defensive lineman are very good athletes," Mayes said. "Their linebacker crew is excellent. I think their defensive linemen are there more to take pressure off their linebackers to help them make plays."
Along with the work he does for GoPokes.com and the O-State Sports Report, Matt Palmer is also the OSU football beat writer for the Enid News and Eagle. You can reach Matt at email@example.com