OSU receiver Isaiah Anderson ready to introduce himself

BACKING UP ANYIAM — When the Cowboys lost Hubert Anyiam to a season-ending injury, the Cowboys turned to backup Isaiah Anderson to fill the void. Anderson should do just fine filling in for Anyiam — just ask him.
BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Modified: October 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm •  Published: October 25, 2011

Still, Anderson has something to offer.

Like his speed.

One of the fastest Cowboys, Anderson ran track for OSU in the spring of 2009 and has been timed at 4.39 in the 40-yard dash.

“He's fast,” said OSU cornerback Brodrick Brown, “he's not faster than me, but he's fast.”

Anderson, of course, sees it differently. So who gets the nod as fastest Cowboy?

“Ah, that's a good question,” he said, pretending to consider other candidates. “I can't give anybody else the nod. I'm going to have to nod myself on that one.”

Seemingly always on the brink of a breakthrough, Anderson has popped up as a playmaker at times in his career. A year ago, four of his 12 catches covered at least 25 yards. This season, he's produced three touchdowns and posted a career-best five receptions Saturday at Mizzou in relief of Anyiam.

Is he ready for a bigger stage?

“I thought once he came in the first half of last week's game, he played very tentative,” Monken said. “I thought he played like a guy who hadn't played. He didn't play fast. He didn't play comfortable.

“Then the second half, he kind of settled in. And he played a lot better. And I think he'll play a lot better. He's worked awfully hard with his ball skills and his route running. I think he's deserving of the opportunity. Now we'll just have to go see.”

Anderson won't be hard to find, with his touch of pink in his cleats, gloves and wristbands.

“Yes, I wear them for my mom,” he said. “She had cancer my senior year of high school. Last year during homecoming, I started wearing the pink cleats, but I have the gloves and wristbands to go along with the pink cleats this year.”

Anderson hopes to be noticed for his play, too.

“I talked to Hubert,” Anderson said. “I just kind of patted him on the back, gave him a hug and let him know that I was going to step up and do the best I could.

“He told to keep doing what I've been doing. He said I've been preparing well and it's my time to shine.”



X MARKS THE SPOT

Isaiah Anderson steps into the hole created by the injury to Hubert Anyiam at the “X” receiver spot.

Look for Michael Harrison to fill in there, too, moving at least in part from his role as backup to Justin Blackmon on the opposite side of the field.

“They'll be kind of a two-headed monster over there and we'll try to get the most out of both of them,” Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken said of Anderson and Harrison.

Harrison, at 6-foot-1, 211 pounds, offers a more physical presence than Anderson. Perhaps a more physical presence than any Cowboy – Blackmon included.

“He might be the best after-the-catch guy that we've got; he's just not as fast as Blackmon,” Monken said. “(Harrison) can't separate. He may not be as quick, but in terms of strength – and Black will be bummed that I said that – Michael Harrison is a bear to bring down.

“He's as good as I've been around at breaking away form people. I'd have to think of how many times he's actually gone down with the first guy tackling him. I don't remember it.

“That's probably poor on my part, not throwing it to him more short and seeing if they can. He's really good at that.”

Harrison ranks fifth among receivers with 15 catches for 207 yards. His 13.8 yards per catch leads all wide receiver with at least five catches.

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