Cowboy Staff Won't Hold Reid Back

STILLWATER – Bobby Reid is probably not the best quarterback in the Big 12 Conference, and that showed last Saturday night when he threw three interceptions in Oklahoma State's 35-7 victory over Arkansas State. But Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy says that the sophomore quarterback is still miles ahead of where he was last season.

Reid's fourth pass of the game against Arkansas State was intercepted and returned 51 yards for a first quarter touchdown. Then just a few minutes later as the Cowboys were driving for a game-tying touchdown Reid made a mistake and tried to force a pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew instead of tucking the ball and running. The pass was intercepted.

Gundy said Monday that the Cowboy coaching staff would have pulled in the reins if Reid had made those two throws a year ago, but that was not the case Saturday night. Reid finished the game by completing 11 of 18 passes for 167 yards and touchdown passes to fullback Jeremiah Burton and Brandon Pettigrew. He also scored on a 13-yard run – surprisingly the first rushing touchdown of his Cowboy career.

"There would have been last year but we didn't do that," Gundy said when asked about limiting Reid's choices after the two interceptions. "They had schemed us on that play (where they intercepted and returned it for a touchdown). They did a nice job. He still shouldn't have made the throw. But he was fine after that.

"After he threw the second one I was ready to cut his hair off," Gundy said with a smile. "He was fine after that, and nobody on the headset, or anybody on the sideline became alarmed, and felt like okay we need to run the ball and don't let him play. That didn't get brought up and usually I'm the one that brings that up. But I felt OK with it because he was all right. He said, ‘Coach, I made a bad read and I just now (after the second interception) made a bad throw.' He was fine after that so we let him go."

Reid struggled through his freshman season a year ago, completing just 48 percent of his passes while throwing just two touchdowns and four interceptions. Through the first two games of the 2006 season, the 6-3, 225-pound sophomore is completing 54.3 percent of his passes (19 of 35) for 332 yards (but his completion percentage would be better than 70 percent if Cowboy receivers had not dropped six passes in the first two games). He has three interceptions but also has thrown for six touchdowns. His pass efficiency rating of 173.4 ranks third best in the Big 12 and is 10th nationally.

More importantly, according to Gundy, is he's running the ball like the Cowboys coaches thought he would when he led North Shores High School to the Texas Class 5A Division I state championship as a senior.

"You remember how he ran before he got hurt last year? And then when he came back he looked terrible," Gundy said of Reid, who has 60 rushing yards on just 12 attempts (an average of 5 yards per carry) through two games. "Up to now he's running pretty good.

"He has to do that because as a quarterback (you ask) what are your strengths? Are you going to mentally whip somebody, ala Peyton Manning? Are you physically going to throw the ball and wear somebody out – Dan Marino? Or are you going to Michael Vick somebody and run and make plays? Or can you do both of them pretty good, not great, and be pretty effective? That's kind of what you do as a quarterback," Gundy continued. "He's not going to mentally just whip anybody and he's not going to throw the ball like Marino right now, so he's got to do a little bit of both. He understands that and he knows that. He'll be better next year than he is now, but everybody just progresses differently. But when he can run he's a threat. When he doesn't run, then he's not a threat."

Reid should get plenty of opportunities to show his running ability when the Cowboys host Florida Atlantic on Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium. The Owls have been outscored 99-6 in their first two games this season, and have allowed their first two opponents (Clemson and Kansas State) to rush for an average of 210 yards per game (which ranks 107th out of 119 Division I-A teams).

NOTES
Gundy said Monday that freshman linebacker Donnell Williams broke team rules and has been dismissed as a member of the Cowboy football team. Gundy said Williams is no longer in school and has returned to his hometown of Houston.

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