Larry Fedora: Ready To Go With Either QB

STILLWATER - It's a reasonable concern when a first-year starting quarterback gets hit and knocked out of a game for the first time in college. So could the hit and the impact of that ordeal affect the young quarterback's play? It's a scenario that could be played out as early as this week for Zac Robinson and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy informed the media that Robinson has been cleared to participate in Monday evenings practice. Gundy called the injury a slight concussion. Robinson was definitely woosy after being hit early in the fourth quarter by Texas A&M nose tackle Henry Smith. The hit appeared to be late and was made with the top of the helmet.

Robinson seemed to clear up during the rest of the game and then appeared to be much better leaving the locker room for the flight home to Stillwater. Gundy confirmed as much when he said he checked on Robinson on the flight back late Saturday night. As for Robinson's play suffering any from the hit and the constant threat a quarterback has of collecting another, Gundy doesn't think so. As a former quarterback that should know, Gundy says Robinson is too competitive.

Offensive coordinator Larry Fedora agrees. "That is just part of what that position is, you're going to get hit," said Fedora. "You either play through it or not. I know Zac and I know his temperment and he'll be fine.

"I've seen guys that yeah, they're worried about it the rest of the game, but then I've also seen it where it is a fluke deal and a guy never worries about it again," Fedora continued. "You are either a player or you're not, and if you are going to worry about that kind of stuff you are going to have a hard time."

The 6-3, 205-pound Robinson has played other positions and has been a running quarterback, so it would be highly unlikely he would be gun shy about taking a hit.

One question that was answered as a result of Robinson having to leave the game at A&M was how former starter Bobby Reid would react if he had to come in off the bench during a crucial point in a game. Reid answered the call by hitting 6-of-9 passing for 72 yards. He made one mistake in taking a 14-yard sack when he should have thrown the ball away. He also went through his checks down to hitting his hot receivers on a crucial down that saw running back Keith Toston go for a big gain and a first down. Reid passed the test.

"When Zac went down there was never a worry in my mind that I can't call this (play) or I can't call that (play) like you have to do in some situations that I've been in before," explained Fedora. "It was just let's run the offense, Bobby knows it. Let's go. I have the luxury of not having to prepare for another style of offense because of a different quarterback in a situation like that."

Fedora did speak with Reid on the ringdown phone on the sidelines and he said Reid was fine. No problems at all jumping into the game.

"After the very first series that he went in I didn't get a chance to talk to him before that, but after that, when we got on the phone, and started running down the plays that I would use it was 'OK, let's go,'" said Fedora. "There was never any worry in his voice. He was confident that he was going to get the job done."

That doesn't surprise Fedora because Reid has been consistent since moving from starting quarterback to backup.

"He just comes out and he practices hard and he competes," said Fedora of Reid's practice demeanor since Robinson took over. "He just prepares himself for the game. I think he is calm and Saturday night knew the task at hand and was prepared to do it."

Fedora, Robinson and Reid this week prepare for a Nebraska defense that makes one think of anything but the classic Blackshirt Husker defense. Nebraska is giving up an average of 29 points, 190.5 yards rushing, 251 yards passing, and a total of 441.5 yards of offense a game.

"There have been some plays, some spectacular plays made against them that if you had to do over probably wouldn't have been made," said Fedora kindly about the Husker defense. "There have been some plays made that I just said wow, but they made them. They have had some unfortunate plays made against them. They are still big, strong, can run, and play aggressive. They've just had some bad breaks."

Remember, the Huskers do like to blitz and they got caught in one last season and the Cowboys revved up the offensive machine. They'll need to do the same again in Lincoln this weekend no matter who's the quarterback.

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