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Oklahoma State football: Breaking down the running back depth chart

by John Helsley Published: August 18, 2014
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So, which back gets the ball in Oklahoma State’s offense, now that Tyreek Hill has joined Desmond Roland and Rennie Childs in the mix for carries?

That’s the dilemma ... for opposing defenses.

“It creates something for the defense to they don’t know what to expect,” said Roland. “We can give it to me up the middle, then run Tyreek up the sideline.”

Childs offers a mix of the two, the quickness to run away from defenders, but also a toughness to run between the tackles.

All will play.

Sometimes together, in packages of two and even the complete trio.

The Cowboys have options.

Hill, of course, is the wild card, with world-class speed – literally – fit for multiple roles that extend from running and receiving to returning punts and kicks.

The junior college transfer from Garden City Community College in Kansas, Hill arrived with promise to play either running back or receiver. And he’s played both with the Cowboys. And he’ll continue to play both.

But the Cowboys are committed to getting him touches, “15 to 20 per game” according to Mike Gundy, and the easiest way to do that is on handoffs.

Roland is ready, too, after surging into the feature role a year ago when Jeremy Smith stumbled in the spot. Roland ran for 654 of his team-high 811 yards in the final seven games of 2013, playing a key role in transforming OSU’s offense.

After off-season shoulder surgery that kept him out of spring, he’s healthy and hungry to return to his punishing running style.

“It really killed me to see my brothers and teammates practicing while I was just running gassers and working out,” Roland said. “I just really missed the game.

“My first day back, I felt like I was really blessed to be back on the field. I really missed it.”

Childs isn’t as fast as Hill – not many are – yet he has the speed to hit a hole and bust a big run. And, at a solid 205 pounds, he’s not afraid to duck and dig a shoulder for the tough yards.

“If somebody’s in my way, I’m not going to be scared and run out of bounds or juke,” Childs said. “If I’m in a situation where I have to juke, I’m going to do it, but if I’m in a situation where I have to run through them, then I’m going to run through them.”

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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