STILLWATER — Zac Robinson’s running both thrills and chills Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. Robinson, not Gundy. Therein lies the crux of a high-stakes season for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys’ quarterback likes to run — and OSU needs him to run — but does Robinson have to be so reckless? "If the defense allows us the opportunity for the quarterback to run, we’ll run him,” Gundy said. "I would like for him to protect himself some after he runs, or in a scrambling situation. His demeanor and his mentality have been to run through tacklers. "And that doesn’t really fire me up right now.” Robinson, however, knows no other way. He’s a football player after all, not some base stealer on the ball diamond. "I still don’t know how to slide,” said Robinson, who returned to practice Tuesday after missing a week with a slight leg muscle pull. "Still haven’t figured that out.” Robinson, the Cowboys and their foes have all figured one thing out. Robinson revs up the OSU running game. Kendall Hunter may be the feature back and an All-America candidate, yet Robinson’s running may concern defenders most. It adds an X-factor to an arsenal that already features Hunter and elite wide receiver Dez Bryant and more to an offense that produced 6,340 yards in ’08 – 3,191 on the ground and 3,149 through the air. "We do so much offensively, it’s tough to prepare for,” Robinson said. "We know we can run it and pass it. It’s something that we always pride ourselves in. And we’ll try to do it again this season. "Whether we’re in the shotgun, under center, we can mix it up so many ways. Play action. We have a little bit of option. We are definitely keeping defenses on their toes.” Robinson keeps defenses dancing. Since he took over at quarterback, the Cowboys’ rushing averages per game were 243.3 in 2007 and 245.5 in 2008, the best numbers at OSU since Barry Sanders’ 1988 Heisman year. Robinson ran for 847 yards in ’07, 562 a year ago. And while he didn’t lead the team in rushing either season, just the threat of him running, either in the option or scrambling, helped. "That’s going to change how defenses approach us,” Gundy said. "On a passing down, you can’t just drop everybody out of there and cover the receivers, because he’ll pull the ball down and run it.” Gundy would just like him to not only tuck, but duck sometimes. Robinson’s teammates, too. "When Zac takes off running,” said cornerback Perrish Cox, "it’s like, ‘Yes… but get down!’” For the most part, Robinson has proven durable. He’s played in all 26 games the past two years. Still, he’s taken some shots. Robinson suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter at Texas A&M in 2007 and couldn’t finish a tight loss to the Aggies. Last year in the Holiday Bowl, he suffered a shoulder injury while scrambling and struggled to throw in the final quarter of a loss to Oregon. This year, Robinson may be better built for taking on defenders. He’s stouter than ever, weighing a solid 220 pounds. And neither he, nor Gundy, is interested in altering the offense, even if Gundy would prefer Robinson alter his approach. "At some point, you become like a 12-year vet in the NFL,” Gundy said. "You’ve proven to everybody. And you can take the Franco Harris deal and just step out of bounds and protect yourself. "I think he’s earned the right to do that. I don’t know if he will or not, but I’d certainly hope he would.” Not likely, since Robinson relishes the hits rather than resists them. "I honestly feel pretty good after games,” Robinson said. "My body has been through a lot. There are games where I’ve had quite a few carries and some where I don’t. So it hasn’t been too bad. "I’m weighing 220 now. So hopefully those hits, it’ll help me out in that regard.” Text "Cowboys” to 65360 today for your chance to win 2 tickets to OSU vs. Georgia in Stillwater, Sept. 5.