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By John Helsley, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Modified: September 27, 2010 at 11:01 am •  Published: September 26, 2010

When opponents have dared to take Quinn Sharp's kickoffs out of the end zone — six times among 30 boots — they've fared well.

Entering the weekend, the Cowboys ranked dead last, No. 120, in kickoff coverage, allowing an average return of 41.7 yards.

The struggles could be due in part to a coverage unit that in the last game featured seven freshmen. Still, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy remains committed to the youngsters.

"We're going to stay with them," Gundy said. "That subject's been brought up, though."

Some teams use starters on the special teams units. The Cowboys have in the past, too.

"There's always a real fine line there," Gundy said. "You can put all your starters on there and run them down in the game. They may have to run down eight times, full speed. Then you have to practice them all week. You only have so many times those guys can run down the field."

Gundy allowed that if not for Sharp's kickoffs producing consistent touchbacks, things might be different.

"They have made some mistakes," Gundy said of the freshmen. "They've not fit properly. They've not adjusted to certain blocking schemes.

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