Chuba Hubbard may have been Oklahoma State’s fifth-leading receiver a year ago with 22 catches for 229 yards – with a long of 54 – but he may just be scratching the surface in becoming a multi-faceted tailback.
With Hubbard expected to take over the starting running back role for the Cowboys this fall, he has put an even greater emphasis on working on his pass-catching ability.
“Catching the ball is very important to me, I want to be a running back that can do it all – that can run it on third-and-1, third-and-long or if you need to flex me out, I want to be able to catch the ball also,” Hubbard said. “That’s definitely something I’ve just been working on since I’ve been here.”
During fall camp, there have been times in the early portion of practices made open to the media in which Hubbard worked with the wide receivers on the jug machine with receivers coach Kasey Dunn. He’s even made some impressive catches that awed the receivers in those drill lines.
Dunn, who has worked honed the skills of receivers who have gone on to the NFL (James Washington, Marcell Ateman, Chris Lacy and Tyron Johnson of late), has seen progress from the Cowboys’ tailback and the understands the impact having a pass-catcher out of the backfield brings the OSU offense.
“He’s definitely better (than a year ago),” said Dunn, who is also the associate head coach. “… He’s gone from being a guy who was nervous about catching a football, to now it’s, ‘I can’t wait to get it into my hands and do something with it on the perimeter!’
“For us, Chuba Hubbard on the perimeter is a win. Getting that guy in space is awesome. He’s definitely on the right track on working on his ball skills as much as he is.”
Grand expectations for Anderson
Prior to the start of fall camp, which is when many of Oklahoma State’s freshmen finally reported to Stillwater, OSU receivers coach Kasey Dunn had some high praise for his top incoming target.
Langston Anderson is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver from Midlothian, Texas, where he was a four-star prospect – the 17th-ranked recruit from the state and the 94th overall in the country. He chose the Cowboys over programs such as Baylor, Ole Miss and Arizona State.
With one of the top college receivers coach in the country starting to work with Anderson, there are going to be great expectations. And they are even coming from his own coach.
“I’d love to say Langston Anderson (would be that next guy), he’s big, fast, strong and can just go, but I haven’t been through a fall with him,” Dunn said last week. “… I hope it’s Langston, because he’s got that body type and ball skill, and all that. But does he have the mental makeup?
“He’s going to be in that conversation, certainly going to be one that I’m looking at.”
OSU has had a Biletnikoff Award (college’s top receiver) finalist each of the past three years, and Dunn has worked with a Biletnikoff finalist in half of his previous eight years in Stillwater with two winners to his name.
Pegging the freshman as a next potential candidate in the list of top-tier talent to play receiver at OSU is putting a lot of expectation on him.
Fortunately for Anderson, he may not have to rush into things at the college level. With the return of Biletnikoff finalist Tylan Wallace, coupled with a bevy of talented wideouts, Anderson won’t have to be rushed to the field.
“Right now, I’d have to say the next guy (to follow Tylan), it’d be Dillon (Stoner) outside of any freshmen,” Dunn said.
When asked about the freshmen skilled position players for the Pokes – such as Anderson and four-star running back Deondrick Glass – Mike Gundy mentioned he’d only seen Anderson working with the No. 3 offense, so hasn’t seen much of him.
Hutton all but tabbed starting punter
It appears Oklahoma State will have a true freshman starting on its football team this fall, and he will be the oldest player on the field.
Tom Hutton was brought in from Australia as a highly-anticipated, 29-year-old punter, of whom Cowboy coach Mike Gundy gushed about all of spring.
Now a week into fall camp, it looks pretty clear that Gundy – who has special teams duties – has locked Hutton into the starting role.
“Tom is doing real well. It’d be hard for him to not be the punter,” Gundy said. “He’s just so explosive with his leg, that at this point he’s doing pretty well.”
With being the oldest player on the team – by at least five years – Gundy said the coaching staff has had to make an exception for the married father of one.
Hutton had tweeted out at the start of fall camp how weird it was getting a bed check by the coaching staff, and Gundy agreed with the notion.
“(His wife) said bed check was kind of weird the other day, and I said, ‘We probably don’t need to bed check Tom any more,’” Gundy said. “He’s 29, he’s worked five years at a paper mill – 10 hours a day – so he somewhat understands about going to bed at night.”
Being from Australia, Hutton also hasn’t had as much of an issue with the rising temperatures during fall camp, according to his coach.
“It’s usually hotter over there,” Gundy said. “It’s winter over there right now, but the heat doesn’t effect him. I would guess there probably wasn’t air conditioning in those paper mills.”
"He’s 29, he’s worked five years at a paper mill – 10 hours a day – so he somewhat understands about going to bed at night."
On Tom Hutton no longer getting bed checks