Thursday, October 27, 2011
Cowboys faced with unfortunate reality
By David Ubben
Cliches don't mean much until they become personal.
"One guy goes down, you have to replace him," said Oklahoma State receiver Josh Cooper this week.
For Oklahoma State, the cliche is all too real this week after being forced to watch senior receiver Hubert Anyiam roam the sidelines in a protective boot after breaking a bone in his foot during Saturday's win over Missouri.
Hubert Anyiam was Oklahoma State's No. 3 receiver, having accounted for 27 catches, 370 yards and 3 TDs this season.
"If he’s down in the dumps, he’s not showing it," Cooper said.
Anyiam led the team in receiving in 2009 before suffering through an ankle injury for the majority of 2010. This year, Anyiam was healthy and productive, racking up 370 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Now, his career is likely over.
"It really, really tore me up when we lost Hubert. He’s done such a great job for us, been such a great kid," coach Mike Gundy said. "I told him I hated it for him and that he’s still a big part of our team, and that he needs to stay focused, he needs to make sure he’s going to class and doing all the other things. He’s had a great career here. It’s unfortunate that things like this happen, but I believe everything happens for a reason, and up until he couldn’t play anymore, he gave us great effort and did everything he could to be a factor on our team. I was very proud of him."
Now, the Big 12's top offense is without one of its top weapons. And with no other choice, has to move on to the five games standing between it and the national title game.
"The other players, Josh and the other wide receivers, will have to make some more plays now," Gundy said.
Cooper has been the team's clear No. 2 receiver behind Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon.
"Running short routes, getting inside ... Making plays on third downs, and once Black gets coverage over the top, I try to come down in the middle or something and make plays. He draws those defenders off for me," Cooper said. "That’s just kind of what I do in this offense."
He'll be doing the same thing, but look for the ball to come his way a lot more without Anyiam. Isaiah Anderson and Michael Harrison will slide in to try and fill Anyiam's void.
"[Anyiam] is a great blocker and he’s made a lot of plays for us, but those guys can also make plays. Mike’s been making plays all year long, and I’m sure he can keep doing it for us," Cooper said.