STILLWATER, OKLA. — Where Andy Loveland comes from they think a backfield is a plot of grass out behind some building.
Loveland came to Oklahoma State from Palomar, Calif., Junior College, where he completed 274 of 458 passes for 3,692 yards last season.
"We only had three running plays counter, draw and dive," Loveland said Tuesday when the Big Eight Skywriters stopped at OSU. "Most of the time we had four (receivers), and if we had a back in the backfield we'd put him in motion and run him out somewhere. We didn't care where he went."
Loveland, originally from Oceanside, Calif., is the Cowboys' leading candidate at quarterback, where they return no one from last season.
OUT OF high school, Loveland signed with Colorado State. He spent two seasons there one a red-shirt year while Kansas transfer Kevin Verdugo started.
He bore Verdugo no ill "He's a great guy. Kevin taught me a lot," Loveland said but he became disenchanted with football.
"I ran into all sorts of problems, partying and grades," he said. "I was sick all the time. My body couldn't keep up with what I was doing. I wasn't enjoying football at all."
He went back to Oceanside, intending to give up the game until his mother talked him into playing at Palomar.
"I started playing, and the fire lit up inside of me," he said.
Last year he was also recruited by Tulane, San Jose State, Utah and Southern Illinois, but OSU was the only visit he made.
Then, when Derek Chapman, another Californian who guided the Cowboys through spring drills, decided not to return this semester, OSU coach Pat Jones had to throw open the position.
"WE HAVE let these quarterbacks get hit on up through Saturday, because we had to find out what they were all about," Jones said.
Loveland distinguished himself with a 10-for-15 performance in Saturday's scrimmage despite the fact football at OSU has been a culture shock for him.
"In junior college we didn't practice more than an hour and a half or an hour and 45 minutes, and we didn't go in pads at all except for game day," he said. "We'd practice an hour and a half, throw a few balls and maybe run a few gassers if we got in trouble."
On the other hand, he's had no problem picking up the Cowboys' offense.
"The hardest thing for me is the running game," he said. "It sounds backward, but I came from a program where this type of passing game seems pretty simple."
Other stats from Saturday's scrimmage: Sophomore tailback Rafael Denson rushed for 130 yards on 19 carries and scored a touchdown on a 55-yard run. Senior Bert Milliner caught six passes for 45 yards and a touchdown and Mark Cheatwood hauled in three for 35 yards and a TD.
Pat Jones is entering his ninth season as the Cowboys' head coach. He was 44-15 in his first five years and 8-24-1 in the last three, during which time they have been under NCAA sanctions.
"I'm just glad the three years of (NCAA ) sanctions are over," he said. "I lump all three (years) together. I didn't think any of them were any good."