OSU struggles with kickoff coverage

Pick your poison. That is how Oklahoma State special teams coach Joe DeForest describes the Cowboys' current kick coverage problems.
BY BRANDON CHATMON, Staff Writer, bchatmon@opubco.com Modified: October 14, 2010 at 8:59 pm •  Published: October 14, 2010

"They're making progress, but when we bust, it's a big one and that falls on me," DeForest said. "I'm responsible for it and I'll get it corrected."

Against ULL, OSU switched from a regular kickoff formation to a pod-style formation in which the Cowboys start in a bunch and spread out as kickoff specialist Quinn Sharp approaches the ball.

"I'm just looking for an answer," DeForest said of the change. "We've tried everything."

OSU has 10 freshmen — meaning every player except Sharp — on its kickoff coverage team heading into Saturday's game at Texas Tech. Several, like safety Zack Craig and cornerback Larry Stephens, have been mainstays on the unit while others, like defensive end Andrew Hudson and running back Jeremy Smith, were added after the season opener.

"They're going to be limited because of youth," Gundy said. "You just want to be sound enough that you don't give up the big one."

Said DeForest: "They're freshmen but that's not an excuse, they're not freshmen anymore, it's game six."

DeForest blames himself for the Cowboys coverage problems.

"I'm as disappointed as everybody else," DeForest said. "I'm going to do a better job of teaching them the fundamentals and what they need to do when they get down there."

It's not a talent issue, it's a experience issue.

"The effort is there, the speed is there, the athleticism is there," DeForest said. "I have to do a better job of getting them to be able to finish the play when they get down there."


OSU'S KICKOFF COVERAGE

Date — Opp. — Returns — Yards — Avg — TD

Sept. 4 — Washington State — 1 — 20 — 20.0 — 0

Sept. 11 — Troy — 3 — 171 — 57.00 — 0

Sept. 18 — Tulsa — 2 — 59 — 29.50 — 0

Sept. 30 — Texas A&M — 1 — 47 — 47.00 — 0

Oct. 8 — Louisiana-Lafayette — 8 — 238 — 29.75 — 1

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