STILLWATER — The return game can be a game-changing aspect of any football game. Oklahoma State kick returner Justin Gilbert can attest to that with his two returns for touchdown last season.
But as for the punt returning for the Cowboys, game-changing wouldn’t be a great adjective.
Last year, Oklahoma State averaged just 3.4 yards per punt return attempt — compared to their opponents, which averaged over 11 yards, and well below the Big 12 average of 9.3 yards per return.
The Cowboys are hoping junior Charlie Moore could be the answer to the less than stellar punt return game.
“I’m working the best I can right now. I’m putting in more reps, getting better every day,” Moore said. “It’s a new thing for me. I like it though.”
“He hasn’t been out there enough. He’s only been there four or five practices, but we have a lot of faith in Charlie for a variety of reasons,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “He works hard and it’s important to him. He’s willing to do whatever we ask him. He’s starting to work into a position that could help us in that area just based on how he progresses over the next couple of weeks.”
Moore doesn’t have a lot of previous experience fielding punts, either. The Oklahoma State wideout played quarterback in high school in Bullard, Texas — which didn’t lend itself to a lot of opportunities to return punts or kickoffs.
“I think I did like two punt returns in high school,” Moore said. “I played quarterback in high school, so they didn’t really want me returning too much.”
Moore, who was a center fielder for his high school baseball team, likened the punt returning position to his experience playing baseball.
“I was a big center fielder in baseball, so tracking the ball has been one of my strong suits,” Moore said.