“Once I get tackled like the first three or four times, get them to think I’m just gonna keep letting them tackle me. But I’m like, ‘OK, I’m gonna jump over.’” — OSU running back Ollie Gordon
STILLWATER — Ollie Gordon gave Cowboys everywhere lots to like Saturday night.
Forty-four yards rushing on seven carries.
An average of 6.3 yards a carry.
A touchdown to put away the victory.
But the Oklahoma State tailback made everyone sit up and take notice in the fourth quarter when he hurdled a would-be Central Arkansas tackler on a beauty of a 15-yard run. It was a textbook hurdle, left leg fully extended, right leg bent underneath him.
Edwin Moses would’ve been proud
The play got me, an Earth-bound mere mortal, thinking football players who decide to leap tall buildings who happen to be other football players.
Here are three things I needed to know about the football hurdle.
When does a ballcarrier know such a thing might work?
Gordon says because he’s on the bigger side for a tailback — he’s listed at 6-foot-1, 211 pounds — smaller defensive backs tend to try to tackle him the same way. They go low. They want to tackle him by the legs because trying to tackle him by the upper body is a fight they might not win.
Gordon uses their tactics against them.
“Once I get tackled like the first three or four times, get them to think I’m just gonna keep letting them tackle me,” he said. “But I’m like, ‘OK, I’m gonna jump over.’”
Gordon, who has never run hurdles in track despite that textbook jump Saturday, has been hurdling defenders since seventh or eighth grade.
Do ballcarriers worry about a hurdle gone wrong?
We’ve all seen it — a ballcarrier goes airborne for a hurdle but fails to clear the defender. It looks painful. It seems a little bit embarrassing, too.
For Gordon’s part, he doesn’t think about such things.
“At worst,” he said, “I’ll get flipped.”
That worst-case scenario frankly sounds pretty bad.
“I’ll come back down,” Gordon said.
“You gotta have some fun with it.”
Why don’t we talk about the hurdle like talk about basketball players who get posterized?
Sometimes when a basketball player dunks on a defender, the dunk becomes known as much for the guy who got dunked on as for the guy who did the dunking. He becomes the guy who got posterized.
Where’s the football hurdle equivalent?
Not that I’m asking for players to be humiliated, but it’s strange that we don’t even know the names of defenders who get hurdled.
(Gordon jumped over Central Arkansas safety Tra Green, if you’re keeping score at home.)