Reid Is The Cowboys' Man

Bobby Reid gives the Oklahoma State Cowboys a better chance to win and win big in the Big 12 Conference. Whether that's in the next three months, next season or in 2007 is the unknown. But Mike Gundy and his staff feel that now is the time to hand the reins to the redshirt freshman quarterback, and that's what they've done. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Reid will make his first start at quarterback when Oklahoma State, 2-0, plays Arkansas State, 1-1, on Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Reid's promotion means that sophomore Donovan Woods, who had started 14 consecutive games at quarterback dating back to last season's opener at UCLA, will be moved to defense. Woods is listed as the second team free safety on the depth chart released Monday by OSU.

"The last 10 or 12 days he's gotten a lot better in practice. That's what it came down to," Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy said of the decision to start Reid. "The last 10 days Bobby's gotten better in practice. We have to find out what he can do if we give him lots of reps. As coaches we have to make decisions, we make them and go full speed ahead."

Reid, as expected, was pleased with the decision. "This has always been my dream. Since I got away from high school I have always wanted to be the number one quarterback on a college team and now my drean has come true," he said.

Reid and Woods split time at quarterback in OSU's 23-3 victory over Florida Atlantic last Thursday night. Reid was 4-of-10 passing for 52 yards, while Woods was 7-of-12 for 46 yards. Reid rushed for 48 yards on nine carries, including runs of 24 and 14 yards (the Cowboys' two longest of the game); Woods had two yards on three attempts.

After two games, Reid is averaging 8.7 yards per rushing attempt (130 yards on 15 carries), and is second on the team in rushing yards to Mike Hamiltoin (158 yards).

"I think he's the best runner on our team," Gundy said of Reid. "The reason we have all those quarterbacks runs in is because they are our best ballcarriers. And if we're not very effective throwing it than they'd better run it or we're not going to move the ball at all.

"We're not going to run the heck out of him, but we are going to run the ball. I just hope that he's an average thrower at this level for the next two or three or four weeks. I don't expect him to be much more than that as a freshman. So, what's he going to do? How are we going to score? He'd better run the ball."

Reid said, "The first two games I did a couple things with my legs and wanted to do more things with my arm the first game. I came out the second game and made a couple of throws, a couple of passes and I'm getting mentally stronger as the weeks go by and able to run the offense. Now I'm ready to take it from here."

Gundy said the decision was not based on one game, one practice or one play.

"It was everything ... just his overall play in practice," he said. "How he handles things. His throws. He still makes mistakes but he's considerable better. That's why he got more snaps at Florida Atlantic."

Gundy was standing on the sidelines when Pat Jones pulled starter Ronnie Williams at halftime and sent in the wide-eyed freshman in 1986. It was the third game of the season. But Gundy says that's where any similarities end between when he became the Cowboy starting quarterback – for the next 37 straight games – and Reid.

"Two different situations. I didn't even practice with the ones (first team). I was the third or fourth team guy. There's really not a lot of similarities," Gundy said.

But does the Cowboy head coach see some of the same characteristics in Reid that he showed as a freshman in 1986? "(We're) two differeent type of people. He's got all the physical skills. He's got everything he needs to do it. If I was like him, I'd still be playing," Gundy said. "He just needs to come along. It's a more complex offense. When I went in we had about 15 plays, that's it. Now, these playbooks these guys have have 50 plays in one game, and probably 100 plays in the playbook. So there's a different transition there. We used to see two fronts and two coverages (in a game). These guys might see 15 different fronts and 10 different coverages in one game.

"When I reflect back, I probably became a pretty good player the second half of my sophomore year. I probably played 10 or 12 games and did not have a clue, (I) just played. Then I remember as a junior really understanding what's going on and felt like I could hurt people because I understood."

Gundy hopes that Cowboy fans remember that Reid is playing regularly for the first time since December of 2003. He suffered a shoulder injury which required surgery in the spring of 2004. He was redshirted a year ago and stepped on the field for the first time in a real game for the first time in more than 18 months in the Cowboy season opener on Sept. 3.

"It's going to take some time," Gundy said. "You want him to progress and understand and get better each week. What concerns you when you play a guy like this is turnovers. You want him to go through a growth period but you don't want it to affect the team. You just look across the country at games and you watch young quarterbacks and the things they do when they're going through a growing time like that and the thing they do is turn the ball over. That's what you don't want. It's a double-edged sword. You want to be aggressive but you don't want to turn it over. But you don't want to be so plain that he's not getting any better."

Gundy said the decision to go with Reid was the most difficult one he's had to make in his nine months as a head coach.

"The hardest thing I've had to do in nine months as a coach was to bring (Donovan) in and tell him because of what he stands for. He does everything right – goes to class, works hard, lifts hard, runs hard, competes, keeps his mouth shut, doesn't doubt coaches. He does everything. I've said this (before), if my sons grow up to be like him I'll be happy."

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