STILLWATER — During two-a-days, Mo Cummings and Jeray Chatham were viewed as Oklahoma State's weak links.
Halfway through the season, OSU's defensive tackles arguably are the two most indispensable players on the roster.
Defensive coordinator Tim Beckman grimaced when asked what would happen if Cummings or Chatham were injured.
"I've never been involved where two guys have had to play that much,” Beckman said. "It was the immaturity of that position. I'm proud of them. They've really progressed better than what we probably expected.”
Ideally, Division I-A programs rotate four or five defensive tackles, none playing more than 40 snaps. Cummings and Chatham have averaged more than 60 snaps a game.
Cummings entered the season with just eight career tackles but already has recorded 21 this season, including 4 1/2 tackles for loss. Chatham had only four career tackles but has been solid (13 tackles, 4 1/2 for loss).
"We're getting a tremendous amount out of Mo and Jeray,” said coach Mike Gundy. "I'm very happy with the way they're playing. They're giving us really good effort. I'm proud of the way they're competing, staying in there.”
The position is thin. Tonga Tea, a junior college transfer, is averaging only one tackle a game. Quencey Patrick was contributing before he suffered a minor injury but should be full strength this week.
Jonathan Lewis is playing a little. Shane Jarka, moved from defensive end during fall camp, is still adapting.
"Quencey was playing well, but when a young kid is injured, it takes a little bit longer to get back,” Beckman said. "I told Shane he needed to gain 20 pounds this past summer. He's getting bigger. In fairness to him, it's a new position for him.
"I can see some of those guys coming along to where they can take some stress off Mo and Jeray.