Reid expected to start, but Cowboys now have proven backup

Monday, October 23rd 2006, 5:29 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Monday he expects Bobby Reid to be the Cowboys' starting quarterback Saturday against No. 20 Nebraska after leaving last week's game with a head injury.

``I think it'll be Bobby Reid,'' Gundy said. ``I don't know that for sure.''

Reid, the nation's No. 3-rated passer, left in the second quarter of Oklahoma State's 34-33 overtime loss to No. 22 Texas A&M with what university officials called a mild concussion.

``I'm not even sure I'd categorize what he had as a concussion,'' Gundy said. ``Dinged in the head is what I'd categorize it.''

Even if Reid isn't able to play against the Cornhuskers (6-2, 3-1 Big 12), the Cowboys have discovered they have a capable backup in Zac Robinson. The redshirt freshman from Colorado threw three touchdown passes and had Oklahoma State (4-3, 1-2) in position for an upset before the Aggies tied the game with 3 seconds left in regulation, then blocked an extra point in overtime.

``He did some things in that game that I can't remember doing myself until I was about a junior,'' said Gundy, who started as a freshman at Oklahoma State and still holds the school's career record for passing yardage.

Gundy said he was impressed with Robinson's ability to read defenses and react and his poise on third downs.

``You never know how a young guy's going to react when it's on the line,'' Gundy said. ``It's different when you come in and it's 45-7 and you're just going out there playing and having fun. He handled himself very well.''

Offensive coordinator Larry Fedora said he didn't have to make any adjustments when Robinson took over for Reid. That's a different situation than last season, when the Cowboys had to tailor their offense to backup Al Pena, who's more of a pocket passer, after the mobile Reid injured his foot.

``Zac does a lot of things similar to Bobby,'' Fedora said. ``They're close in their running ability and the way they throw the ball, the way they make their reads, all those things.''

As a senior in high school, Robinson threw for more than 1,400 yards, ran for more than 1,000 yards and caught passes for 850 yards splitting time between quarterback and receiver. He redshirted last season and had played in mop-up duty against Missouri State and Florida Atlantic this season.

``The previous weeks I'd been preparing like I was going to get to play and it just never happened,'' Robinson said. ``I feel like it's important to prepare like you're going to be the starter. This week, it's definitely even more so.''

Fedora said he would be able to tell whether Reid had any lingering effects from the injury by having him read defenses in practice and then asking him about them. At dinner Sunday night, Fedora said he didn't notice anything wrong with Reid.

``I'm sure he's got some type of headache but there were no other problems with him,'' Fedora said. ``He remembered everything that happened in the game and knew what had happened.''

Before his injury, Reid had been making strides toward becoming the elite quarterback the Cowboys expected when they recruited him out of Houston. A week earlier, he threw for five touchdowns, ran for another and set a school record with 457 yards of total offense against Kansas.

And two games before that, he ran for a career-high 85 yards, threw for three scores and racked up the fourth-highest total offense in a game in school history.

``Obviously Bobby has been playing well this year and if he's healthy, we need him to play,'' said safety Donovan Woods, a former quarterback. ``But if not, we've got a lot of confidence in Zac.''