OSU's Wilson Youman used to being shuffled around

BY JOHN HELSLEY Staff Writer jhelsley@opubco.com Published: October 19, 2011
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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.

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