STILLWATER — Cowboys coaches keep yanking Wilson Youman around, literally.
And the end result is he rather likes it.
Youman, a senior from Martinville, La., has shuffled back and forth between offense and defense in his career at Oklahoma State. The shuffling continues — every day now — with Youman playing both tight end and defensive end as a rare throwback to the two-way player of yesteryear.
“I can't imagine,” said Cowboys offensive tackle Levy Adcock. “I can barely learn one side of the ball, much less two sides. Much respect to him, he does a good job.”
Youman is the listed starter at tight end, a position only occasionally utilized in OSU's spread offense. Primarily a blocker in the jumbo short-yardage package, he has two catches in six games.
He's a backup on defense, with two tackles, including one big one, Saturday's sack of Texas quarterback David Ash to kill one late Longhorns drive.
As if that's not enough, Youman also serves as a blocker on the field goal unit.
“It's pretty challenging,” Youman said. “There's a lot of times I'm on offense, and I have to pay attention to defense. A lot of time on defense, I have to pay attention to offense.”
All that paying attention comes with some advantages in practice, as Youman knows all the calls on both sides of the ball, giving him an edge as a blocker or a pass rusher.
“He cheats,” Adcock said with a grin.
The idea to use Youman both ways was hatched months ago, with the blessing of coach Mike Gundy. Once preseason drills arrived, it became official, with OSU's equipment men presenting Youman with a special split jersey: one side orange for offense, the other white for defense.
“The first time I saw it, I thought, ‘This must be a joke. A one-day joke,'” Adcock said.
Oh, it's serious. And so is Youman's dual job description.
Consider it the best of both worlds for Youman, who wasn't always enthused about trading places. After starring as a defender in high school, he was moved to offense upon arrival at OSU.
“I was a defensive end in high school,” Youman said, “and when Coach Gundy told me I was going to be playing tight end, I was upset.”
When Dana Holgorsen arrived as offensive coordinator a year ago to implement his spread offense, the tight end position was no longer needed, pushing Youman back to defense.
“I was upset, a little bit,” he said. “But I'm not a selfish player, I know what's the best thing for the team, what the team needs. So, whatever my role is, I'll just do whatever the team needs me to do.”
After seeing Youman drop Ash, Cowboys defensive coordinator Bill Young might like to see more of Youman.
“We're going to start using Wilson a little bit more,” Young said. “Coach (Gundy) is going to let us have Wilson a little more as a defensive end. He brings a lot of quickness and quick twitch to the pass rush, and that helps.”
That quickness could be a plus Saturday, with OSU facing a mobile quarterback in Missouri's James Franklin.
So, which position does Youman like best?
“I actually enjoy both of them,” he said. “But I feel like in my mind, I'm a defensive end.
“I just like to rush the passer.
“I like to go into film study the next day and see a wide receiver who was wide open on the sack that I made. I just like that.”
It was film study that led to Youman's sack at Texas.
“I knew Ash was a get-outside-the-pocket quarterback,” Youman said. “I knew that if I got out of his vision, he'd try to scramble out. So what I did was get up the field, then came back in.
“And there he was.”
Youman will take all the action he can get. Offense, defense … both.
Now, if the tight end could just become more of an option in the passing game.
“All that's fun, but no matter what my role is — whether that's blocking, catching, sacking the passer, blocking on field goals — whatever it is,” Youman said, “I just like to play.”