“There's other things involved in playing running back than just running the ball,” Gundy said, “and he's done fairly well in those areas over the last three weeks.
“We were leaning toward using him some against Kansas State, but the truth is, as a position coach, it's hard to really put a guy in that's never played in a game in a key moment in a close game in case he makes a big mistake or something happens.”
When it was Smith who made the big mistake — fumbling away a first-down run in the third quarter — the rookie got his shot.
“And he took advantage of it,” Webb said.
Ironically, Childs was Randle's replacement of sorts. The Cowboys didn't have a scholarship for him until Randle decided to forego his senior season and jump to the NFL. Only then did they double back and grab Childs to fill Randle's void.
Maybe now he'll fill the void further.
Childs was a late-blooming recruit, running for 1,945 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior at Cypress Ridge High in the Houston area.
Not permitted to talk to the media as a first-year player, Childs told The Oklahoman last winter that a style change spurred his big senior season.
“Coming into my senior year, I wanted to make a change,” said Childs, who stands 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds. “I wanted to change the way I ran. After watching Trent Richardson, I was like, ‘Dude, that's how I want to run.'
“I wanted to be more explosive, lower my shoulder on somebody, run them over and really showcase my skills and what I can do.”
Those skills were on display against TCU.
“He's got an edge to him,” said OSU offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. “He's competitive. And he's tough. And when he sees it, he hits it. There's no hesitation.”
That attacking burst had been missing from the Cowboys running game.
Again, Gundy remains cautious, although he allows that Childs has obviously earned a deeper look.
“I really think Rennie could be a big factor in our offense,” said OSU receiver Josh Stewart. “And you saw that against TCU.”