New OSU QB Comfortable With The Cowboys' New Center

Tuesday, September 18th 2007, 10:02 pm
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State's football coaches have said repeatedly in recent days that the Cowboys suffered a major loss when center David Washington, a three-year starter, went down with a broken leg during last Friday's loss to Troy.

The Cowboys' new starting quarterback, sophomore Zac Robinson, agrees with that assessment, but said he already enjoys a comfort level with the player likely to replace Washington, sophomore Andrew Lewis. Turns out that when Robinson and Lewis arrived on campus as freshmen, they were paired as roommates.

As freshmen, both served in backup roles, so Robinson has taken hundreds of practice snaps from Lewis. That familiarity showed Friday night when Lewis entered the game, as there were no fumbled exchanges _ which can be a common occurrence when a quarterback and center haven't worked together much.

``We'll definitely miss David, but Andrew Lewis has been around here. He's hopped between center and guard his whole career,'' Robinson said. ``He knows what he's doing. ... We know each other well.''


A BETTER BOWMAN: Oklahoma State senior wide receiver Adarius Bowman received numerous preseason laurels, with some publications proclaiming him as the top offensive player in the Big 12 Conference. He landed on the cover of Oklahoma State's media guide after recording 60 catches for 1,181 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

Through three games this season, Bowman has caught 17 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns _ decent numbers, but only good enough to rank Bowman 10th in the Big 12 Conference in receptions per game and eighth in receiving yards per game.

``He's been producing. He's actually played tremendous without the ball in his hands,'' Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. ``One thing you have to remember in offensive football is that people can take a receiver out of a game or a running back out of the game, if they want to overload the box or if they want to play over the top of him.''

Gundy said the absence of starting tailback Dantrell Savage, who has missed the Cowboys' last two games with what is thought to be a groin injury, has affected Bowman's production, because teams are able to focus more on stopping Bowman.

That's ``limited his numbers some. But he's actually playing better this year than he did last year,'' Gundy said.

``I'll challenge anybody in the country to his play without the ball in his hands, which is very important in your running game. And when he does get the ball in his hands, he makes plays.''


LIVING IN A COCOON: Gundy said Monday he does not read newspapers, watch television or get on the Internet, which might explain a curious exchange he had with a reporter during the weekly Big 12 coaches' teleconference.

The reporter asked Gundy about Kansas coach Mark Mangino's expletive-filled tongue-lashing of Raimond Pendleton during the Jayhawks' Sept. 1 game against Central Michigan. After returning a punt for a touchdown, Pendleton dove into the end zone, drawing a 15-yard penalty and infuriating Mangino. During his tirade, Mangino took hold of the player's helmet to make sure he was looking at him as he yelled and gestured.

Footage and audio caught by a nearby camera ended up on the Web site of a television station, eventually appeared on the online video-sharing site YouTube. The appropriateness of the tirade has been widely discussed and debated during the past two weeks.

Gundy said the reporter's question was the first he'd heard about Mangino's outburst, but he went ahead and offered an opinion about media access to sidelines during games.

``I think there's more access now than there ever has been,'' Gundy said. ``Do I think there's too much? Yes. Do I think it's going to go away? No.

``I think it's here forever and it's the way it is. ... I don't think there's anything you can do, because, for example, the people that sit in the stands at the game, they can put video on their phones and they can video everything going on if they want to. I just don't think there's any way around it. I think that you can either live with it and try to function, or you can fight it, and I think it's a lost cause.''


HOLDING ON: Gundy said tailback Keith Toston's two fumbles against Troy _ one of which came on the Cowboys' first snap and led to a quick touchdown for the Trojans _ are disconcerting, but said he's sticking with the sophomore, who rushed for 631 yards and six touchdowns last season in a reserve role.

But Gundy's patience has its limits.

``He basically just fed whatever you feed a hornets' nest to start the game, and he's been told that,'' Gundy said. ``Am I down on Keith? Well, I'm down on him for fumbling but ... we put him back in the game. And we're going to put him in this week because we need him.

``He's a young player, and he needs to learn to correct that mistake, but if that happens a whole lot more on ... what is not a contact situation, then we'll be forced to not play him as much, until he proves to us, in a spring football setting with a lot of collisions, that it won't happen again.''