Could Cox Get More Opportunities?

Judy Gundy is no different than any other Okahoma State fan, with the possible exception of having the cell phone number of the Cowboys' head coach. But the mother of OSU head coach Mike Gundy gave her son a message following Saturday night's season-opening victory over Missouri State – get the ball into freshman Perrish Cox's hands.

The Oklahoma State freshman became the first Cowboy to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown since 1987 and 1988 – when a pretty talented player by the name of Barry Sanders accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons. Cox, who was named the Big 12 Conference Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday, also intercepted a pass and returned three punts for 72 yards, including a 41-yarder which he almost took back for a touchdown, in his first game ever at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Judy Gundy knows talents when she sees it, and like most Cowboy fans, is wondering if her son and the Cowboy coaching staff is going to give Cox more opportunities to make plays when OSU faces Arkansas State this Saturday in Little Rock, Ark.

Gundy, the head coach, tells Cowboy fans not to expect to see Cox lining up as a wide receiver – as he did last season at University High School in Waco, Texas where he caught 47 passes for 670 yards and 12 touchdowns – when the Cowboys take the field Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium.

Gundy initially said that there was no way that Cox would play offense this season. But later he said that it would be difficult to work the 6-1, 180-pounder into the offensive scheme now that the season has started and he has spent all fall trying to crack the starting lineup at cornerback.

"I should have never said no way," Gundy said. "You know where you struggle with that? He has to leave that side of the field (in practice) and come down there with us. In high school, you're all going against each other any way. Your (number) one offense is out there and the other guys are simulating (the defense). Then you flip it. Here they're all split up. So all the work they're getting down here (on the offensive end), he's not getting any of it. And it's not necessarily (about) can he not run a reverse or a post but can he get any rhythm of the cadence? Can he keep on side?

"But I know from the outside, just like my mom says, ‘Big deal. Hand him the ball.' Which is true. But there's a lot more to it than just that because the game has gotten so complex.

"It's like Pat Jones used to say about Barry Sanders when he was a freshman. (The assistant coaches would) say he doesn't understand protections. But who cares? Just pitch him the ball. (Jones) would say, ‘I don't care if he knows how to protect at all. But if you toss it to him three or four times he's going to score anyway.' "

Gundy said it would not be easy for Cox to duplicate what former Cowboy R.W. McQuarters (1995-98) did at times during his career when he played both ways. "He's got 12 hours of school, he's on special teams (as) a gunner (and) a destroyer, he's a returner, he's on a lot of special teams, and he's a back up on (others) … you just can't overload these guys," the Cowboy head coach said. "He played well (last Saturday) because he's got a lot of natural ability, but he also turned a guy loose (while playing cornerback). He's still got some work ahead of him."

Cowboy quarterback Bobby Reid wasn't surprised at what he saw from Cox, and wonders what it would be like to have another playmaker to join D'Juan Woods, Mike Hamilton, Adarius Bowman and Brandon Pettigrew on offense.

"I think he's more comfortable at cornerback. That's what he came here as, but I wouldn't mind having him on the offensive side to see what he can do with the ball," Reid said of Cox, who ranks third in the Big 12 with 189 all-purpose yards. "I already know what he can do, but give him the ball even more and give him more chances to do something would be exciting.

"Really, it doesn't matter what side of the ball he's one (because) he's going to make plays. He's just that type of guy. He has a knack for getting the ball into his hands. On the interception Andre (Sexton) made a good play on the quarterback, which caused a bad throw, and he peeled off and got the pick and looked like he was going to score but I think he was gassed at the end."

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