STILLWATER — Kye Staley's transformation from high school quarterback to college fullback has come with some pain.
And some perks.
And the bulging biceps.
There's a gun show going on in the Oklahoma State backfield, with Staley's burly arms in full focus, partly because of his revealing tugged-up sleeves, but also because they're simply massive.
“Kye Staley is a monster,” said Oklahoma State wide receiver Isaiah Anderson.
And Staley's big guns are only part of the backfield arsenal, with Jeremy Smith's high-definition arms the envy of all.
“I don't know what to do to get those, because I don't have them myself,” said OSU defensive tackle Davidell Collins.
“I guess if you go in the weight room and work hard, you can get some arms like Jeremy.”
Except Collins and all the Cowboys are in the weight room, run through the Rob Glass regimen, which by all accounts is a daily grind.
It's just that somehow OSU's running backs — running backs — are growing the guns to have and want.
“Everybody works hard,” said Joseph Randle, “it just looks better on us. We do have some of the best bodies on the team. I will say that.”
And it starts with the arms, although for Staley, it's been a total body makeover.
His story is now familiar.
Touted four-star prep prospect, career nearly undone by a devastating knee injury, then inspirationally saved by determination and will of the player. Recast as a fullback due to a loss of speed, body reborn to deliver punishment, rather than receive it.
Staley, after arriving in Stillwater at 200 pounds, now carries a firm 236 pounds on his 5-foot-10 frame.
“At first, my attitude was like, ‘I'm no fullback,' ” Staley said. “But after I accepted it, I changed my entire attitude toward it and I've loved it.
“This is the position they wanted me to play, so I just accepted the role and maintain my weight. I'm just going with it. I'm not as quick as I used to be, of course, but I just embrace my role and embrace my weight and work with it.”
Flaunt it, in fact.
Staley said he now enjoys blowing up defenders as much as scoring touchdowns.
And his calling card is his howitzer-like guns.
It all comes with some jokes and jabs.
“No doubt,” Staley said, “but in reality, they know I'm their fullback and they don't want me to be no skinny thing when I gotta block for them. They want me to be a good size.”
At that position, the gun show is just an offshoot of the overall strength that allows the OSU backs to power through tackles and charge ahead for yards after contact. That asset was on display against Texas, when Randle piled up a career-high 199 rushing yards and the Cowboys averaged 6.9 yards per attempt.
“I would hope so,” Smith said about the strength making a difference, “it's a physical game. So yeah, it does (help).”
For OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who's always hard to impress, it's the production that matters.
“I was just happy that they played (against Texas) like those guns were put to work,” Monken said. “We've been kind of waiting for that to happen. If they've got a gun show, then I recommend they bring it out this week at Kansas, like they did against Texas.
“Otherwise, we'll make them roll their sleeves down.”
Smith, at 5-10 and 208, draws envy not only for the size of his arms, but their definition. The bulges draw attention to his upper arm and forearm, with the muscles cut and ripped — even when Smith isn't flexing.
“He's got bowling balls for arms,” defensive end Cooper Bassett said of Smith.
Randle, like Smith, is ripped, while sophomore Desmond Roland is still beefing up, but clearly gaining bulk.
Together, they're an imposing group, in terms of both production, and presentation.
So, who's guns are bigger? Smith said they don't really compare, but if they did, maybe one would compare to him.
“Yeah, Kye,” Smith said, “he's big and really strong, stronger than me. I'm just more cut up than him. But that's probably it.”