OSU's Justin Blackmon insists that Hubert Anyiam's ‘going to have a big year'

BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Published: August 8, 2011

Then when he did come back, he suffered a high ankle sprain, limiting him again. Anyiam said he never felt better than 80 percent healthy the rest of the season. And doubt might have crept in.

“Hubert's one of those guys, for some reason, he doesn't think of himself as good of a player as we think he can be,” said offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “He's the kind of guy that when he's feeling good and he believes in himself and you believe in him, he responds to that. And that's all we've tried to do with him.

“We tell him, ‘Hey, do you realize how good of a player you can be? Why don't you play with more confidence? You've got a man's body, you're strong, you're a fun guy to be around. Let's understand that and keep working.'

“And he's done that.”

Not that the pain was only in his head. For players who rely on sticking their feet into the turf to change direction or prepare for a burst of speed, a high ankle sprain is a crippler.

“For a wide receiver, a high ankle sprain can be a very big deal,” Anyiam said. “You're playing receiver, you've got to be able to plant your feet and make cuts according to where the defense is playing you. You've got to read and make last-second cuts. You've got to have your feet and ankles to play receiver.”

Anyiam's wheels are good again, freeing him up to be himself. His good self.

“Hubert Anyiam can be as good as Hubert Anyiam wants to be,” Blackmon said. “He's got a lot of talent. He's extremely fast. I think he's one of the best players on this team, as far as athleticism and body build and strength. He's strong and physical. With that combination, it's very tough to stop.

“Just to see him back in that groove again, bouncing around and moving, feeling comfortable out there – not thinking about his foot or anything – that's good to see.”

The Cowboys are already tough to stop. But if Anyiam can provide a deep threat out wide opposite Blackmon, the offense could only get better.

“Oh, I wouldn't mind at all,” Blackmon said. “It'd take a lot of pressure off me.”

And put more pressure on defenses.

“I had a great summer,” Anyiam said. “I didn't miss any days. I went 100 percent every day. My feet weren't giving me any problems. That's the big thing for me this season, staying 100 percent healthy and being there for my team.

“I don't want to say too much, but I can tell you this, I'm going to give it 100 percent.

Obviously, Blackmon has that target on his head, I plan on other receivers being open and being able to help.”


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