STILLWATER — Austin Hays stood on the sidelines last autumn, or sat at home, watching his teammates play without him.
It was no fun.
“It’s so frustrating, not even getting to travel with the team,” Hays said. “You never get used to it.
“Every single game day, you think it’s not going to affect you as bad. But then you get out there, the crowd’s there, your adrenaline gets going, and you have to stand there with your arms crossed in sweatpants.”
Hays missed virtually the entire season with a hamstring injury. He played only against Lamar, making one catch.
And that hamstring injury could be the curse that keeps on cursing. Hays’ absence created more playing time for a new wave of OSU receivers, and now Hays will be in a big-time battle for playing time, even though the Cowboys lost three of their four most productive receivers.
“It’s a great problem to have,” Hays said. “It just sucks that you can’t get out there and help, because the year before I got to play and contribute. So you want to do something so bad, and you can’t. It’s frustrating.”
Josh Stewart, Tracy Moore and Charlie Moore have departed. But the 2013 Cowboys relied heavily on freshmen Jhajuan Seales and Marcel Ateman, plus sophomores David Glidden and Brandon Sheperd received plenty of work, too.
Those four players combined for 90 catches, 1,243 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Plus, OSU recruited junior-college speedster Tyreek Hill as a possible replacement for Stewart.
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