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Justin Gilbert adjusting to new kickoff rule

Gina Mizell Published: September 19, 2012
Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert, photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert, photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma State electric kick returner Justin Gilbert understandably wasn’t a fan of the new kickoff rule, which moves the ball up from the 30 to the 35-yard line, when it was instituted during the offseason.

Those feelings haven’t changed much through three games. Gilbert is averaging 29.0 yards on nine returns so far, with many of them being taken out of the end zone. His longest return of 61 yards came against Savannah State.

“There have been a couple times where I’ve hit a seam, and there’s just one guy that if I can make them miss, then we’re off to the races,” Gilbert said. “But for the kickoff team, they have more of an advantage (with the new rule).”

Gilbert, who has four career kick return touchdowns, does see one adjustment that he can make, though — bursting quicker after fielding the ball.

“First couple of games, I’ve been jogging and waiting on my blocks,” Gilbert said. “But I want to hit the hole a little bit faster, and maybe I can spring out.”

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