STILLWATER — Quinn Sharp calmly looked at the turf through his white face mask at the end of a scrimmage at Boone Pickens Stadium last month while a herd of teammates and coaches surrounded the Oklahoma State kicker and turned into hecklers.
“He's got your number, Quinn,” one player shouted. “Let's go 1-3,” another yelled. Others simply screamed and hollered as loudly as they could while they tried to rattle Sharp. A coach even blew the whistle to try to “ice” him.
Sharp just kept booming the football through the uprights, backing up a little more after each conversion. The last attempt was on target from 62 yards away, prompting those hecklers to quickly switch back to the role of supporters as they mobbed their kicker.
“It's a deal where you're trying to instill confidence not only in yourself, but also in your teammates,” Sharp said. “That you're there and you can make those kicks.”
Sharp proved again in OSU's 61-34 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette that he's capable of handling all three phases of the kicking game.
The junior, who is adding on field goal duties for the first time this season, converted all four of his field goal attempts, recorded seven touchbacks on kickoffs and averaged 50 yards on two punts. He even made a touchdown-saving tackle on a ULL punt return.
“Four field goals, I wouldn't have expected that,” Sharp said. “I was glad to get that out of the way and under my belt. And it felt really good. I felt like everything ran really smooth.”
It's been a long road for Sharp, who earned co-Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors after Saturday's performance, to get to this point.
After coming out of high school ranked as Rivals' No. 1 kicker in the country, Sharp had to wait his turn behind a Ray Guy Award winner in punter Matt Fodge in 2008 and then a Lou Groza award winner in kicker Dan Bailey in 2009 and 2010.
Now, the Cowboys will rely on Sharp to do it all.
“It's not only physically with kickers and punters, but mentally,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “Up to this point, (Sharp's) done very well, and I would think that he'll stay that way for the remainder of the season.”
That has also changed Sharp's routine on the sideline. He can no longer just wait to punt, which he only had to do 46 times last season because of OSU's high-powered offense, or kick off following a score.
He now has to stay completely engaged with what's happening with the Cowboys' offense.
If OSU is on its side of the field, Sharp is preparing to punt and paying close attention to third-down plays. If the Pokes get past the 50-yard-line, he must get ready to kick a field goal.
That can change in an instant with the Cowboys' prolific offense.
“We could be doing running plays, and then all of a sudden, they throw a deep ball to (Justin) Blackmon,” Sharp said. “I'm getting ready for a punt, and then two seconds later, I'm getting ready for a field goal.
“You just have to be mentally aware and be fully into the game at all times. You can't really take a play off and just go sit on the bench or something. I have to stay active. I ride the bike and I kick into the net a lot.”
Sharp did get a slight break Sunday, as he did not participate in the Cowboys' practice with their short turnaround before Thursday's contest against Arizona. Gundy said that's part of special teams coordinator Joe DeForest's and speed, strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass' plan to keep Sharp fresh for the entire season.
But Sharp enjoys the increased workload that comes with adding field goals to his repertoire of responsibilities.
He's confident in his range, too. He has shown he can nail a 60-yard kick in front of hounding teammates at practice. He hopes to have a chance to do that in front of a real crowd in a game situation this season.
“You kind of want to, just to see what happens,” Sharp said. “I'd love to have the opportunity if it came up. I definitely feel like I've got the leg for it.”