Hunter Anthony did not get much of a chance to wrap his brain around the news.
The redshirt freshman offensive lineman for Oklahoma State was informed on Thursday he would be getting the start at right tackle against Kansas State, two days later.
“I was obviously nervous,” Anthony said Tuesday. “But everybody I talked to told me I could do it and really gave me a lot of confidence.”
Anthony was getting out on the field to play football for the first time since high school, which was in Class 4A at Tuttle High School.
“I was like a kid in a candy store,” Anthony said. “The first time I got out there, I was like, ‘Holy crap, this is K-State.’ It was crazy to me.”
Fortunately for Anthony, his first start came in front of a friendly crowd of Cowboy faithful at Boone Pickens Stadium, which allowed for his mom and girlfriend to take in his first career college start.
“All four of my tickets went to good use,” Anthony said.
But if he gets the start again this week, which is possible as he’s listed as a starter in the depth chart released by Oklahoma State, he will get his first opportunity to deal with an opposing crowd – and perhaps a more noisy condition when on the field – with the Cowboys traveling to Texas Tech for an 11 a.m. kickoff Saturday.
“I’ve got to make sure I’m doing what the coaches are telling me, picking up on everything that they throw at me,” Anthony said. “I’m not really worried about the crowd. If you’ve been to our practices, we play music louder than anybody can stand it, so I don’t think it will be a big change.”
As a part of the makeshift line that included former walk-on Ry Schneider also getting just his second career start, Anthony was part of Chuba Hubbard’s big day.
And the most memorable moment for Anthony on Saturday came on Hubbard’s 84-yard touchdown run on OSU’s first offensive possession in the second half.
“I picked up the scraping backer and then I saw Chuba pass me, so I just let go of my guy and watched (Hubbard) freaking go,” Anthony said. “I was sprinting as fast as I could, and I watched him gain like 50 yards on me. That was kind of crazy. He’s a freak.”
Anthony was responsible for a holding penalty that nullified a nine-yard touchdown run by Chuba Hubbard – who finished the game four yards shy of breaking 300 yards rushing – and the Cowboys ultimately had to settle for a field goal on the drive.
“We broke the huddle, I believe two plays before, and I said, ‘I need three things from you guys – 1. I need a good snap, 2. I need good ball security and 3. I don’t want a penalty. That’s all I ask,’” Gundy said. “If we got that, basically the game is over. Then two plays later, he got a penalty.
“That illustrates for you what it’s like dealing with young players. He already had the guy blocked … and he slung him to the ground. All he needed to do is finish his block or just stand there.”
Gundy said Anthony has a bit of a “mean streak” and cited that play as being a sign of that.
But he also added that the first-time starter learned from the mistake that cost his team a touchdown.
“We talked to him about it, we discussed and it bothered him more than anybody,” Gundy said. “But that’s how you learn. He won’t do it next time.
“I like that we don’t have to push him in the fight, we have to pull him out, he just needs to learn to temper himself and understand and be a more disciplined football player.”