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OSU Insider: O-line holding Oklahoma State back

By Brandon Chatmon Modified: September 21, 2009 at 8:14 am •  Published: September 21, 2009
STILLWATER — It has become a cliché most football fans have become wary of.

It’s become commonplace to hear a running back say, "If it wasn’t for my offensive line, I wouldn’t have done anything today,” right after putting up huge rushing numbers in a victory.

Oklahoma State’s offensive struggles have proven just how true that cliché is in its first three games. The Cowboys are searching for cohesion along the offensive line, and their running game has stumbled as a result.

Kendall Hunter, Beau Johnson and Keith Toston each averaged more than six yards per carry as OSU rushed for 3,191 yards in 2008. The Cowboys scored 40 or more points in six games a year ago, and in each game OSU averaged at least 4.6 yards per carry.

This season, the Cowboys have 128 carries for 490 yards, just four yards per carry. The Pokes reached the 4.7 yards-per-carry mark in their loss to Houston, but three turnovers handcuffed the offense. Against Georgia and Rice, the Cowboys were held under 175 rushing yards and under 4.6 yards per carry in both games.

The unsettled nature of the guard position is one reason for the Cowboys’ sub-par running attack.

Tackles Russell Okung, Brady Bond and center Andrew Lewis rank Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in consecutive starts for OSU, but the Pokes had to replace David Washington and Steve Denning off last year’s line.

Noah Franklin, the new starter at left guard, started his first-ever game in the season-opener against Georgia. He will likely head into Big 12 play with just four starts under his belt.