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OSU football: Running back Jeremy Smith returns to downhill style

Smith knows he must continue that trend when the Cowboys face a physical TCU defense Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.
BY GINA MIZELL Published: October 13, 2013


photo - Oklahoma State's Jeremy Smith (31) scores a touchdown during second half of the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Mississippi State University Bulldogs (MSU) at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State's Jeremy Smith (31) scores a touchdown during second half of the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Mississippi State University Bulldogs (MSU) at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State running backs coach Jemal Singleton's philosophy isn't all that complicated.

One cut and get north. As in, toward the end zone.

Yet Singleton and Cowboy starter Jeremy Smith both admit Smith had gotten away from that mindset, particularly in a shocking loss to West Virginia two weeks ago in which he tallied just one yard on 15 carries.

Against K-State last week, however, Smith began to return to that downhill style, a trend he knows must continue when the Cowboys face a physical TCU defense Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.

“It's always just a one-cut game,” Smith said. “Sometimes we lose focus of that. We just try to think too much and try to do too much. You can't let that happen.”

Smith called his performance against the Mountaineers an “embarrassment.” And Singleton graded him hard, though the coach says Smith actually did several things right on certain runs that did not result in any yards.

That's because OSU's rushing woes are about more than Smith. Singleton says he has made mistakes. And the offensive line as not been as stout as in year's past, particularly at right guard.

But a running back can perhaps most be measured when things break down around him. When the hole isn't huge. When an offensive lineman or receiver misses a block. When an opponent sends a blitzing linebacker through the exact gap that was supposed to turn into a running lane.

And that's when Singleton goes back to his philosophy.

“My best chance at moving a pile and making positive yardage is to get north,” Singleton said. “It's to stick my foot in the dirt and run fast and as hard as I can that way.

“It's basic physics. If I'm running sideways, I'm gonna get knocked backwards. If I'm running forward, I've got a chance to fall forward and gain extra yards.”

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