Roland, a sophomore from Dallas, is averaging 7.2 yards per carry so far this season and has compiled 180 yards and four touchdowns. Coaches have always liked Roland's combination of power and speed, as well as his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Gundy also believes playing behind Randle and Smith, arguably the best 1-2 running back duo in the Big 12, has benefited Roland's development in his second season.
“We've been fortunate that we've had a back about every two years to pull kind the other one along,” Gundy said. “Joe learned from Kendall (Hunter), and now Desmond needs to learn from Jeremy and Joe. … He's got two good guys there to follow that should lead by example.”
OPPONENT WATCH: KANSAS GETS PHYSICAL DURING BYE WEEK
OSU is sticking to its normal bye week schedule this week, with one more practice scheduled for Thursday before the players are released until a Sunday evening workout.
Kansas, the Cowboys' next opponent, had a different strategy during its bye last week.
“It wasn't a light week for 'em,” coach Charlie Weis told the Lawrence Journal-World. “They probably hit more last week than they've hit any week the entire season. They hit Tuesday, they hit Wednesday, they hit Thursday, and everything was full-speed. Quarterbacks were live the whole week, too. There were no red jerseys out there.”
The Jayhawks face No. 7 Kansas State on Saturday in Manhattan before returning home to take on the Cowboys on Oct. 13.