Guerin-teed it was quite a week: College football coaches can’t descend into child’s play at a time like this | OU Sports Extra

I understand the pandemic has stressed out everyone, college football coaches included. Now that we’ve reached December and it appears we’re headed for a postseason, the coaches aren’t just trying to keep their team together, they’re jockeying for playoff/bowl/conference championship position. So that’s another layer of tension.

And yet this does not justify adults acting like children.

Remember August, when we decided to proceed with the season? We entrusted the coaches to live up to their role-model responsibilities, to take extra care of their players by being extra mature in the face of difficulties we all knew were coming.

The coaches have gotten a lot of those responsibilities right since then. That helps explain why so much of the season has been played.

There are no free passes, however, when silly gamesmanship causes bad behavior. Coaches can’t lose their way just because it’s late in the season and championships and postseason appearances are at stake.

They are still at stake for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tulsa, but Lincoln Riley, Mike Gundy and Philip Montgomery can’t lose their way. There’s too much riding on them, and no I’m not talking about contract bonuses or bowl game payouts.

They have to be adults, every second of every day, so their kids can meet the challenges of this season unlike any other, and everyone can make it through.

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Watch Now: OSU vs. Texas Tech notebook: Dezmon Jackson has career day; Boone Pickens statue unveiled | OSU Sports Extra

“He changed how we felt about our university,” athletic director Mike Holder said during the ceremony. “He changed giving to an unprecedented level. In essence, he changed our university forever. And for those reasons he was and he will always be the greatest Cowboy of them all.”

The statue is located on the west side of Boone Pickens Stadium and it was announced Saturday that a Barry Sanders statue is also expected to arrive on campus soon.

First kickoff return TD in six years

Oklahoma State had 12 kickoffs returned for a touchdown in Gundy’s first eight seasons, from 2005-2013. But the Cowboys hadn’t returned a kick for a score since Tyreek Hill in 2014. Jason Taylor ended the drought with a 48-yard kickoff return on an onside kick attempt in the third quarter.

Safety Tre Sterling returned an interception for 65 yards to give OSU two non-offensive touchdowns. It was the first time OSU has had two non-offensive TDs since Madre Harper and Ramon Richards returned fumbles against Southeastern Louisiana in 2016.

Wallace with another 100-yard game

Tylan Wallace continues to show why he is considered one of the best wide receivers in the country. He finished with seven catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. It was Wallace’s 14th career 100-yard receiving game, which is the fifth-most in OSU history.

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OSU vs. Texas Tech notebook: Dezmon Jackson has career day; Boone Pickens statue unveiled | OSU Sports Extra

His $165 million donation to OSU in 2005 was the largest single donation to an athletics program in NCAA history. Pickens was honored a couple of hours before the game with the unveiling of his statue, sculpted out of bronze.

“He changed how we felt about our university,” athletic director Mike Holder said during the ceremony. “He changed giving to an unprecedented level. In essence, he changed our university forever. And for those reasons he was and he will always be the greatest Cowboy of them all.”

The statue is located on the west side of Boone Pickens Stadium and it was announced Saturday that a Barry Sanders statue is also expected to arrive on campus soon.

First kickoff return TD in six years

Oklahoma State had 12 kickoffs returned for a touchdown in Gundy’s first eight seasons, from 2005-2013. But the Cowboys hadn’t returned a kick for a score since Tyreek Hill in 2014. Jason Taylor ended the drought with a 48-yard kickoff return on an onside kick attempt in the third quarter.

Safety Tre Sterling returned an interception for 65 yards to give OSU two non-offensive touchdowns. It was the first time OSU has had two non-offensive TDs since Madre Harper and Ramon Richards returned fumbles against Southeastern Louisiana in 2016.

Wallace with another 100-yard game

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‘Stay your path’: How TU’s Zaven Collins developed from an under-the-radar recruit into one of the best players in college football | TU Sports Extra



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As a fourth-year junior, Zaven Collins is producing an all-America season with stats that are staggering for six games, what equates to half a year: 48 tackles including 10.5 for lost yardage and four sacks; four interceptions with two pick-sixes; a forced fumble and a safety. Phelan M. Ebenhack, AP file


HOMINY — The date is tattooed on Haley Collins’ brain, like a loved one’s birthday or a significant anniversary: July 22, 2016.

“I’ll never forget that day,” she said. “It changed our lives.”

In a matter of hours, her son’s path would go a different direction — one that would allow him to live out his dream of playing college football after nearly giving up on it altogether.

More than four years later, Zaven Collins is the unassuming star of the University of Tulsa football team during a surprise turnaround season, a big-bodied linebacker from a small town in line for national recognition and on the verge of an NFL career.

“I’m just grateful to be here,” Collins said. “If not, I would probably still be in Hominy working in the oilfield or doing something along those means. I’m pretty thankful to be where I’m at.”

Hominy, located in Osage County about 45 minutes northwest of Tulsa, has a footprint of about 2 square miles. It’s known for a tradition-rich football history that includes the Hominy Indians, a professional team that defeated the New York Giants in 1927, and a high school program that has claimed five state championships — most recently in 2016, when Collins was a senior who quarterbacked the Bucks to the Class A gold ball.



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Zaven Collins was born May 19, 1999, at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. COURTESY/Haley Collins


The population of Hominy is estimated at 3,500, but close to a third of that comes from the prison on the north side of town. Most of the residents have lived in the town their whole lives, including Zaven’s mother and his entire family.

Haley Collins was 21 when she got pregnant, not exactly something that was planned. She was inspired to get her life on track, going back to school and working as a bailiff while she finished her degree.

“I knew I needed a job to raise my child the way I wanted to raise him,” she said.

After Zaven was born at St. Francis in Tulsa, he was nameless for three days because the rest of the family wasn’t sold on the name, which his mom came across while working as a secretary at an interior design company. Eventually everyone else came around on it, and his big smile lit up their lives.

“He was a good kid,” Haley Collins said. “He always wanted to make people laugh, ever since he was a baby.”

Zaven grew up without a father but didn’t let it affect him. His dad, also a Hominy native, has never been in the picture.



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Zaven Collins and his mom, Haley, pose for a photo at Zaven’s Hominy graduation

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Guerin Emig: College football players and the election: ‘We’re the next generation of voices. It’s no longer acceptable to sit on the sidelines.’ | OU Sports Extra

But it still takes effort to fill out and mail in absentee ballots or stand in line at polling places. It takes some initiative.

Players, perhaps spurred by the commotion of their offseason, sound as if they have plenty of initiative.

“It’s a very important year with everything going on,” OU cornerback Tre Brown said. “If you’ve got the right to vote, you’ve got to take advantage of that right because you could be the change. Why wouldn’t you want to vote when you have that chance to make a difference?”

“That’s something as a nation we are gifted to be able to do,” Collins said. “Some people may not have it as good as us. There are a lot of things going on in the world right now, not just in the U.S. but all over the world, that we need to shine light on…

“That’s something we need to do, be a contributor to a society.”

Last spring and summer, these players contributed by lending their voices to issues that made us think about where we are, and how we can be better. Now, they are contributing by taking advantage of a constitutional right.

Just like spring and summer, we should all follow their lead.

OU linebacker Nik Bonitto commented several weeks ago about how teammates “gave me a better understanding of why voting is important and how it changes our society.”

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Guerin Emig: COVID-19 and college football coaches: “This virus is giving us opportunities we don’t want” | OU Sports Extra

Still, concern, confusion and disruption all lurk.

We have focused mostly on how the virus affects players, rightfully so since kids and young adults are our first priority regardless of subject or circumstance.

We shouldn’t, however, miss the older adults. We shouldn’t miss the coaches and staff members.

“As we knew more about the virus, and I think we’ve been on 17 different committees just dealing with this since March, there was growing data, and this has played out, that this doesn’t impact young men as seriously potentially,” said Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. “Most of them don’t even know that they have it. That’s played out even on teams. Most have not felt sick. The testing has basically caught it.

“The group that is more vulnerable to something serious is individuals that are elderly or with preexisting conditions and so on, and that certainly includes an awful lot of our coaches.”

We’re all at risk of catching the coronavirus, but the scale of something serious happening as a result slides drastically by age.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data as of Oct. 14, 374 people in the U.S. between 15 and 24 years old had died of COVID-19-involved factors. That number jumped to 1,588 in the 25-34 demographic, 4,119 in 35-44, 10,837 in 45-54 and 25,971 in 55-64.

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