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Cowboys receiver crafts talent on jump ball

By Scott Wright Modified: September 2, 2008 at 11:14 am •  Published: September 2, 2008
STILLWATER - As a quarterback, an offensive coordinator and a head coach, Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy has found success with the jump ball.

It's a lineage of success that stretches from Hart Lee Dykes to Rashaun Woods and now to current Cowboy receiver Dez Bryant.

Bryant kept hauling in lobs from quarterback Zac Robinson on Saturday, to the point that Washington State finally realized pass interference was the only way to avoid having another pass completed in front of them.

On all counts, Gundy credits the receivers for making the jump-ball pass so successful during his playing and coaching careers at OSU.

"R you don't have a guy out there that can do it, the play's not any good," Gundy said. "You can draw it up on aboard, but you've got to have a guy out there that's really athletic and has the ability to go get the ball."

That's where Bryant stands out He's one of the best I've ever seen at going up and grabbing a ball in the air," said OSU co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer.

This coming from the guy who coached Randy Moss at Marshall. In fact, Bryant points to Moss as one of his on-field heroes as a young receiver, especially in crafting his talent on the jump ball.

"Just watching great receivers do it, guys like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, people like that," he said. "When I wasyounger that's who I used to watch, and I felt like if they could doll, I could do it" With Gundy as the offensive coordinator, Woods reached all-American status and set the NCAA single-game touchdown reception mark with regular use of the jump ball.

In Bryant, Gundy sees an even better jump-ball receiver.

"Dez is actually more physical, in my opinion," Gundy said.

"He's better at bodying up. Rashaun was great, a great leaper and could take the ball at the highest point. Dez can do that, but I think he’s a little more physical.”

Woods helped the Cowboys knock off Oklahoma in 2001 and 2002 catching jump balls, and his little brother, Donovan, nearly upset the Sooners in 2004 by throwing the lob, which particularly irked the OU coaching staff after they escaped with a 38-35 win in Stillwater.

“We knew (OSU) couldn’t sustain that,” OU co-defensive coordinator Brent Venables said at the time.

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