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Oklahoma State football: Quinn Sharp adds 'sky kick' to menu of specialties

With Sharp, the Big 12's reigning Special Teams Player of the Year, there always seems to be another tool for some occasion
by John Helsley Published: August 27, 2012

“But if we don't kick him deep, we're almost crazy.”

And yet, what if Sharp can pin teams deep, utilizing a lob-wedge sort of approach that allows teammates to cover kickoffs like punts and could even result in some fair catches?

The prospects are tempting.

And Sharp has been working on his loft shots, as well as his long balls.

“As far as maybe sky kicking it to a corner and your guys having a chance to be down there faster,” Sharp said, “I think that could be an advantage in some ways.”

It's not what Sharp prefers. The game previously was tailored to his strength.

“It's not something I wanted to happen,” he said. “It just levels the playing field.”

The change was made for the sake of safety. Kickoffs are viewed as one of the most dangerous plays in the game, with a wave of players getting a running start to build up top speed. Some get picked off in major collisions. Some get through to essentially become human bullets in search of a target.

With concussion awareness becoming a major focus, reducing the number of kickoffs is an aim at making the game safer.

Of course, if Sharp again becomes a game-changer with his sky kick, those kickoffs could actually become more dangerous.

“No question,” Gundy said.

The new rule impacts the Cowboys when kicking and receiving, with Justin Gilbert among the nation's top return men.

So the dilemma for OSU isn't only when to kick it deep, but also when to bring it out?

“You're going to see more touchbacks,” Sharp said. “But you have to deal with it, it's what they want. It's a safety issue.

“I think you'll see a change in a lot of areas, but we'll see what happens with it.”