|Oklahoma State's Bryant adjusting to spotlight|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 10 September 2008 21:35|
Bryant is far more likely to deflect the attention to his teammates than to refer to himself in the third person. He's still a bit skittish when too many cameras are pointed his way.
But now that the spotlight has found him, he'd better get used to the attention.
Bryant caught nine passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns, and also scored on a 74-yard punt return, in the Cowboys' 56-37 win against Houston on Saturday. The performance was the highest receiving total for any Bowl Subdivision player through the first two weeks and earned the sophomore National Offensive Player of the Week honors from the Walter Camp Foundation.
at you don't get to see very much: a guy just dominating and having a great game at a receiving position,'' co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer said.
Brewer has seen a handful of those games before. He was the Cowboys' receivers coach in 2006 when Adarius Bowman became only the 11th player in NCAA Division I history to reach 300 yards receiving with a four-touchdown performance at Kansas.
He was also Moss' receivers coach at Marshall, and that became a factor when Brewer started chasing after the Parade All-American from Lufkin, Texas.
``He was a big fan of Randy Moss, which was a huge advantage for me recruiting him because I had a lot of information and tape and different things that he could lend himself to later on,'' Brewer said.
Bryant is making his own highlight reels now.
``Sometimes, I'll be surprised, but I know that coach (Mike) Gundy ... expects me to do things,'' Bryant said. ``They expect all of us to do things and try to make good plays.''
Bryant was hidden from the spotlight for his first year after arriving at Oklahoma State under a policy that prevents freshmen from talking to the media. By the end of the year, he was hardly a secret.
7 yards and two scores in the Insight Bowl against Indiana and went into the offseason with his status as the Cowboys' receiver of the future solidified.
``He's adapted to the speed of what's going on here as opposed to what's going on in high school,'' Brewer said. ``The best thing he's done is he's starting to take his game to another level where he can dominate his opponent in one-on-one battles. When he can do that and then learn the offense, it really makes a huge difference when he starts learning the game.''
When he finally stopped being off-limits, he was a popular target at the team's media day and again after a 90-yard receiving day in the season opener - even if he was a bit camera shy.
Trooper Taylor, the Cowboys' boisterous receivers coach, was surprised to see Bryant get called for an excessive celebration penalty after his punt return TD. After all, he said, there's ``no T.O. in that guy.''
``He's from a small town and he was surrounded by people that cared about him a bunch, and then he comes to Stillwater and the same things happen for him, but he's just not used to the hype. He's just still Dez, and I don't think that's such a bad thing,'' Taylor said.
``Eventually he'll get to the point that he's more comfortable in front of a camera or a microphone, especially if he hangs around me long enough. I think it'll rub off a little bit. But his personality is not going to change.''
Eventually, Bryant figures to be as comfortable in front of the cameras as he is playing video games with the Taylor's 12-year-old son.
``He's the life of the party,'' Gundy said. ``Dez is not necessarily going to have an issue later in life with stress, I'll tell you that. Most of us, we'll all probably have issues when we get to be about 60 because of stress. Dez is not going to be one of those.''
Bryant's success Saturday will almost certainly garner him attention from another group: opposing defenses who'll be scheming to double-team him and limit his touches, particularly when no other wide receiver had a catch last Saturday.
That's part of why Oklahoma State coaches included him in the return game.
``They're going to have to punt it some time, they're going to have to kick it off some time. There's other ways he's going to touch it,'' Taylor said. ``The kid is a competitor and he wants to win, and then it's us as coaches being able to move him around.''
While its too early to compare him to the NFL single-season record holder in touchdown catches, Brewer puts Bryant in the same category as the Randy Moss he knew 10 years ago - a receiver who puts fear in the minds of opposing defensive backs and coaches, but with ``a lot of talent that's really untapped.''
el. You want to take it from Game 1 to Game 14 and then see how you do over a season, because I think that's the true test of a great player is not just doing once. It's capability to repeat your accomplishments, much like a Michael Jordan, over and over.''