STILLWATER — As two of his best friends are asked to describe him, Jacob Lacey looks on nervously.
"Off the field, he’s a laid-back, likes-to-relax-type of guy,” Ricky Price starts off diplomatically.
"You’re being too kind,” T.J. Bell interjects. "He’s always late. Always. He bums a ride everywhere.
"We say we’re about to go to Wild Wings at 7. He’ll play video until 6:59, then come down at 7:01 and make us wait on him. Then at Wild Wings, it’s ‘I left my wallet.’ ”
Lacey isn’t in denial about his reputation.
"It’s not on purpose,” he says with a slight smile and a shrug of the shoulders. "I just look at time a different way than they do.”
Every group of friends has that one guy who’s always late. It’s just that in Lacey’s case it’s ironic, because on the football field the cornerback has been dependably making plays at a position where timing is everything. A third-team All-Big 12 corner last season, Lacey leads the Cowboys in pass break-ups and had an interception and forced a fumble last week against Texas A&M.
"He’s a born oxymoron,” Bell concludes.
Lacey and the guys who wait on him — also known as OSU’s tight-knit secondary — have a tall task ahead of them in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday, when the Cowboys take on Chase Daniel and the Tigers’ prolific spread offense. Lacey is hopeful that he will get to spend time covering Jeremy Maclin, Daniels’ No. 1 target.
"You can’t ask for a better opportunity than to play a person of his caliber,” Lacey said. "And I played in a (Texas High School) All-Star game with Chase, so I know he can throw the ball on the money.”
Of course, if OSU wants to slow down the Tigers, it will take the entire secondary working together.