Even with Saturday's announcement that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Mike Mustafa had left Oklahoma State for “personal reasons,” the Cowboys still have the most quality depth at the position in years with the return of Anthony Rogers, Christian Littlehead, Davidell Collins and James Castleman and the arrival of junior college transfer Calvin Barnett.
That allowed OSU to move Nigel Nicholas, who last season started every game at defensive tackle, back to his natural position of end.
How did Nicholas react to the news this spring that he was going back outside?
“Pure grins,” Nicholas said. “I was smiling. It felt good to hear that I was actually going back out there, because I was always hoping they'd let me back out there. And when they finally did, it felt good.
“It's like riding a bike, once you play D-end, you're going to know how to play.”
Nicholas tallied 35 tackles, including 10 for loss, and two sacks last season while playing undersized for the position at 6-3 and 285 pounds.
He dropped his weight to 269 this offseason, but not because of the position switch.
“I didn't really have to, but I wanted to, because Coach (Bill) Young said all my weight was in my butt,” Nicholas said with a laugh. “I just wanted to lose a little weight, just for personal (reasons).”
ESPN CATCHES RANDLE OFF-GUARD WITH REQUEST TO DANCE
During running back Joseph Randle's live interview on ESPN's SportsCenter just more than a week ago, he was asked to analyze New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz's touchdown dance — the salsa — and give the audience his own rendition.
Randle was not prepared for that, to say the least.
“They got me, on camera, off-guard about that,” Randle said. “And I was like ‘Really? Come on, man.'
“I said I went salsa dancing twice during the summer (when they asked), ‘Have you done anything out of the ordinary?' They ask me to do the salsa on national TV. I'm just gonna chill on that.”
Randle did, however, did give the audience a little shoulder roll from his chair.
“I didn't want to let them all down,” he said.
MONKEN IMPRESSED WITH LUNT'S DEVELOPMENT
Wes Lunt has gone through three practices as the Cowboys' starting quarterback, and offensive coordinator Todd Monken has been pleased with his progress so far.
“He's sped back up and he's back to where he was (at the end of the spring),” Monken said. “The good news is that he's doing great, and he really still doesn't know what he's doing.
“His decision-making and his accuracy have been fine. He hasn't turned it over. The reality is where to go with the ball — what the defense is doing and where do I go with the ball and then throw it accurately.”