When offensive lineman Hunter Anthony found out he would be starting against Kansas State last week, he was so nervous he tried to avoid telling his family.
The redshirt freshman from Tuttle eventually told his brother, who passed it on to their mom. Her immediate response was inquiring about tickets to the game. Anthony was put in the starting lineup after tackles Dylan Galloway and Teven Jenkins were sidelined with injuries.
Anthony said he prepared all week for it, but it wasn’t until two days before game day when he was sure he would be the Cowboys’ starting right tackle.
“It was kind of mind-blowing,” Anthony said. “But I just took it and did what the coaches told me and did it to the best of my ability.”
OSU coach Mike Gundy said Monday he wasn’t sure which offensive linemen would be starting for the 11 a.m. Saturday kickoff at Texas Tech, but he was pleased with Anthony’s play in his first start.
“He is a big guy,” Gundy said. “He’s got a mean streak in him. He loves to play football, he’s tough, he seems to be competitive, and those are great qualities for an offensive lineman.”
Despite left guard Marcus Keyes being the only lineman playing in his usual position, the Cowboys rushed for a season-high 373 yards against the Wildcats. Gundy said things slowed down for Anthony as the game went along. Center Johnny Wilson, who was playing next to Anthony at right guard, helped ease Anthony’s nerves.
“Whenever you have a great player right there beside you it makes you feel better. (You) feel more confident about yourself if you have a great player right beside you helping you,” Anthony said. “I know I can trust him and he puts a lot of trust in me, too.”
As well as Anthony played against the Wildcats, there were still moments when he showed his youth. Gundy told his offense late in the fourth quarter that he needed three things from them to close out the game. He wanted a good snap, ball security and no penalties.
Two plays later, Hunter found himself in a good position on a run-block and instead of continuing his legal block, he swung the defender to the ground. Anthony was hit with a 10-yard holding penalty. He needs to eliminate those types of plays, but Gundy said Anthony has the aggressive mindset he needs to be an offensive lineman.
“I like that we don’t have to push him in the fight; we have to pull him out,” Gundy said. “He just needs to learn to temper himself and understand to be a more disciplined football player.”