STILLWATER – When Quinn Sharp arrived at Oklahoma State three years ago, he immediately informed special teams coordinator Joe DeForest he wanted all three kicking jobs.
Rated the nation's best high school kicker, Sharp was seeking employment as the Cowboys' punter, place-kicker and kickoff man. Trouble was, OSU already had two future national award-winning kickers on its roster.
Sharp redshirted the 2008 season while Matt Fodge won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top collegiate punter.
Placekicker Dan Bailey became the most prolific scorer in school history (370 points), won last year's Lou Groza Award and is now a rookie battling for a spot on the Dallas Cowboys' roster.
Sharp has handled punting and kickoff duties the past two seasons. He has excelled at both.
The redshirt junior finished second nationally last season with a 46.2-yard punt average and a long of 78 yards. Sharp has a career average of 45.6 yards-per-punt with 41 for more than 50 yards and 12 for more than 60 yards.
His kickoff numbers are astounding, having led the nation in touchbacks the last two seasons with 35 in 2009 and 53 last year.
Standing in the way of Sharp pulling triple-duty are redshirt freshman walk-on Bobby Stonebraker and true freshman Matt Green.
“The placekicking job is still up for grabs,” DeForest said.
Although he is confident Sharp is physically capable of all three roles, and preseason practice results are pointing to him doing it all, DeForest is wrestling with the mental demands Sharp would face.
“How is he going to react if he misses a field goal the next time he has to punt it, or if he shanks a punt and next time he misses a field goal?” DeForest said. “How can he handle it mentally? That's what I've always been scared of, but we've talked about that all spring, all summer.
“If he's the best guy, he's going to do it, but there are some delicate issues that people don't realize. They only think of the physical part.”
Sharp nodded when told of DeForest's comments.
“You have to let things go,” Sharp said. “You can't let things like that affect you. I learned that in high school, but it's definitely different in college, a lot faster pace. It's just a whole different world, really. You have to be mentally tough. You have to let something go. You can't dwell on it because it will affect your next kick.