Cowboys offensive line coach Joe Wickline could feel sorry for himself, having lost his starting left tackle in August now two years running.
He could, but he can't.
That, Wickline said, would be time wasted.
“You coach who's in front of you,” said Wickline, forced to shuffle the offensive line after Devin Davis was lost for the season to a knee injury during preseason camp. “You love all the kids and you know what you need and you need this and you need that, but nobody ever said it would be fair. And nobody ever said it would be easy. They just said get it done.
“So you go to the next guy. And you move a guy to the left and you move a guy right and try to get the best combination and chemistry.”
In Saturday's win over Mississippi State, Wickline's reconstructed line wasn't perfect, yet it was good enough to claim a trench win over the Bulldogs and help the Cowboys power their way to the win.
“It's hard to replace Devin,” said center Jake Jenkins. “Coach Wickline always recruits guys and brings guys in that can fill a position at any time.”
OSU's starting front still has a veteran look, with seniors Parker Graham and Brandon Webb joined by juniors Jenkins, Chris Grisbhy and Daniel Koenig. Sophomore Travis Cross, the listed backup center, played extensively at guard against the Bulldogs.
The other backups, however, are inexperienced, with four redshirt freshmen among those listed on the two deep.
Still, you won't catch Wickline complaining.
“You expect guys to step up. That's what they came here for,” Wickline said. “They came here for opportunities. And guys get hurt.
“You need to say that, ‘Hey, any given time at any position, let's don't make it a miracle that you got the job done. Gee whiz, that's why you came here.'”