September 24, 2010

Back on Track? Anyiam positive about return

Last year, he stepped up when Oklahoma State needed to replace a high-profile receiver.

This season, it's looking like Hubert Anyiam will be a factor in Dana Holgorsen's new offense in Stillwater.

After the loss of Dez Bryant, Anyiam ended up leading the Cowboys in receiving, catching 42 passes for 515 yards and three touchdowns. So far this season, he's 12 percent to last year's receiving total and needs just two more TDs to surpass the scoring mark me made last year. Against Tulsa, he caught three passes for 62 yards and two scores.

Not bad for a guy coming off a broken foot suffered in spring practice back in April.

"I feel like I'm back," Anyiam said. "Being in the top rotation again - I was just happy all day. My foot was giving me problems all through two-a-days as I was trying to work on it. Some days I thought it was good and then the next day it would be back to square one and just throbbing and hurting again. But now I'm feeling continuous days of it being good, so I'm just ready for the next game."

That's a relief to the junior out of Garland, Texas, who felt frustrated after the injury.

"It was real frustrating, especially coming off a nice ending to the season last year," he said. "I was hoping I could just continue that and have a big come-out this season. But this injury just held me back and me not being able to go 100 percent was just killing me inside."

It's always tough for a competitive athlete to sit around and wait to be healthy, that much is for certain. But Anyiam got through it and managed to get back on the field ahead of schedule - by roughly six weeks.

"I was supposed to be ready for October," he said. "That was killing me inside. Me being ready this week and just redeeming myself from this injury and coming back strong and scoring touchdowns today felt really good."

He added that the route schemes installed by Holgorsen are tough and include more cuts, which made him wary about getting back on the field. He said sticking it out with therapy sessions helped in a big way. As far as Holgorsen's thoughts on Anyiam's progress back on the field and contribution to the offense, he said he most certainly has the ability to be a factor in this offense.

"We were gearing him for A&M," Holgorsen said. "Rob Hunt's been telling us it would be closer to A&M when he'd have his feet underneath him. We were smart with him. Gave him some reps in the first game, then doubled them in the second and tripled them in the third game. The more he's out there, the most Brandon is going to have confidence in him and throw it to him."

Anyiam's game last week means OSU seemingly has another wideout ready to contribute to the passing offense. Justin Blackmon has clearly taken hold of the No. 1 spot, with Josh Cooper looking like a capable second option. After that, players such as Anyiam, Tracy Moore, Colton Chelf and Isaiah Anderson are jockeying for pass-catching opportunities.

Games like he had against TU will only serve to improve his outlook, both externally amongst the team and internally inside himself, as injury memories die hard.

"I was down," he said. "I had to go with the reps on the twos because I didn't want to mess up the timing with the ones. But getting back into rotation with Weeden and just being a part of the ones made me look up like I need to get back with the rotation and back in the step.

"When you're going through reps with twos and ones at practice is a big difference, because Weeden hums the balls a lot different than a second-string quarterback. So just coming back and going into that rotation and being a first-string receiver feels real good."

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