OSU's offensive linemen are having fun

Whether it's opening holes for the running game or protecting Brandon Weeden, Cowboys' line is all good.
By John Helsley, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Published: November 1, 2011
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With running back Joseph Randle bolting for another distant touchdown romp, Oklahoma State guard Nick Martinez jogged from behind, windmilling his arm like Ron Washington on the steps of the Texas Rangers' dugout.

It's becoming a common scene with these Cowboys: gaping hole appears, Randle or Jeremy Smith or even Herschel Sims bolts through with defenders hopelessly in pursuit. Somewhere behind, Martinez or some other lineman is signaling for a celebration.

“I think (Michael) Bowie's tagged along on that, after seeing it last week on film,” said Cowboys center Grant Garner. “He kind of made fun of Nick doing it this week. It's pretty funny.

“I think linemen, we have a lot of fun and like to celebrate with each other.”

And what fun times for OSU linemen, in an offense that spins video game stats and points.

Run? Pass?

Either or.

Slip screen? Flip screen? Power dive or receiver reverse?

It's all good, literally.

OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken keeps pulling the strings, whether unleashing Brandon Weeden-to-Justin Blackmon in the all-out spread or utilizing three backs in the power diamond formation.

“It's a lot of fun,” said Garner a senior fixture up front for the Cowboys. “The linemen, we're always lobbying for more run plays, but Weeden is so good and the receivers are so good, I'm sure it's hard for Monken to run the ball.

“We just try to take advantage of every opportunity we get to run. We're having a blast, the most fun we've had since I've been here, without question.”

The bigger blast for linemen, of course, is blowing holes in defensive fronts. That's long been the measure of a Saturday job well done among the blue collar workers in the trenches, as well as o-line coaches like OSU's Joe Wickline.

“I think that's how you're graded as an offensive lineman,” Garner said, “how you run the ball.”

But that alone doesn't credit these Cowboys blockers for their versatility. OSU has run the ball fewer times than any team in the Big 12, yet no one is better than the Pokes' 5.4-yard average per rush.

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