Dallas Cowboys running back Jamize Olawale, an undrafted free agent from North Texas, experienced an unexpected surprise during tonight’s Silver & Blue Debut at Cowboys Stadium. The public address announcer nailed the pronunciation of his name (juh-MAZE oh-lah-WALL-ee).
That is more than some of his coaches have been able to muster. Not that Olawale (6-foot-1, 238 pounds), who has been one of the team’s most pleasant surprises of training camp, is complaining.
“Over the PA, they announced my name correctly,” Olawale said. “Some of the coaches, they have trouble pronouncing my name. Some coaches got it right from the outset. Some are still having trouble.”
Who’s having trouble?
“I’m not going to name any names,” Olawale said, smiling.
That could change soon. Olawale, who has led the Cowboys in rushing in both of their pre-season games, is considered a serious contender to land a spot on the team’s 53-man roster because of the versatility he has shown in training camp.
He could wind up competing for the final running back spot against his former college teammate, Lance Dunbar, a Haltom High School grad who played running back at UNT while Olawale worked primarily at receiver.
Although his emergence as a runner has been a pleasant surprise to Cowboys’ coaches, who initially viewed him as a backup fullback, it has not surprised Olawale.
“That’s how I’ve played my whole life. I started off my career playing running back,” said Olawale, who scored the team’s lone rushing touchdown of the pre-season on a 2-yard blast in last week’s 28-20 loss to the San Diego Chargers. “I feel like I can help in (goal-line) situations. Whatever they ask me to do, I feel like I can step up and help.”
His strong performance in camp makes Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Rams a potentially pivotal one for Olawale and others on the bubble of making the Cowboys’ roster. Olawale doesn’t think much about that, either.
“I don’t know. I’m not in the coaches’ meetings,” Olawale said. “That’s not really my concern. My concern is to come out here and play every day and to do my best. I’ll let the coaches sort through all of that.”