Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has often shied away from mentioning specific players when asked about the progress the Cowboys have made during the preseason.
But during Thursday's press conference, when asked about little-known Cowboys who could contribute significantly in 2013, Gundy bit.
His list? Receivers Jhajuan Seales, Brandon Sheperd and David Glidden, defensive ends Sam Wren and Jimmy Bean and cornerback Tyler Patmon.
“Which means that they've been good up to this point,” Gundy said. “But I'm sure Mississippi State could care less. They've taken care of their side (during camp), and they've put themselves in position to make some plays.”
GRAHAM, BARNETT ENJOYING BATTLES IN TRENCHES
With Cowboy offensive lineman Parker Graham playing more guard during the spring and fall, he's gotten a fair amount of 1-on-1 matchups with defensive tackle Calvin Barnett.
So far, Graham says he's benefitted from going against the guy he calls “the best defensive tackle in the Big 12, as far as I'm concerned.”
“I know that coming every day, I'm going to need to pack my lunch pail and go to work,” Graham said. “I hope he feels the same way about me, because we definitely like pushing each other.
“At the beginning of spring and at the beginning of fall camp, we told each other, ‘It's time to go. It's time to work.' We're going to make each other better, because at the end of the day, if we're pushing each other every day in practice, there's nobody we're gonna see that's gonna be better than us.”
Barnett echoed that Graham is a tough competitor on the interior, adding that Brandon Webb and Chris Grisbhy also give him a challenge.
“They're all just strong, real strong,” Barnett said. “I just look at them like, ‘Yep, I won't tangle up with y'all.'”
GUNDY: OUTSIDERS TOLD GILBERT TO MAKE SURE HE ‘PROTECTED HIMSELF' LAST SEASON
When discussing the disappointing season OSU cornerback Justin Gilbert had in 2012, Gundy has often mentioned that he believes Gilbert was sometimes listening to the wrong people — people outside of the Cowboy program.
Thursday, Gundy went a bit further.
“Last year there were people outside our program that told him if he protected himself, he'd be a first-round pick (in the NFL Draft),” Gundy said. “And he believed it. I think he figured out that didn't work very well.”
“Protected himself,” seems to imply making sure to not get injured. But when Gundy was asked to clarify, the coach instead used that as a segue to continue talking about the negative impact those outsiders can have on players.
“They tell them one thing, and they don't really have a clue what they're talking about,” Gundy said. “That's just my opinion. I don't know of any of that to be true. I've seen it for years and years and years.
“I didn't have any other explanation for (him) not playing very well. Justin's a smart kid and I think he understands that and is excited about playing this year and helping our team and maybe (continuing) to play in years to come.”
OSU safety Daytawion Lowe on why the Cowboys will get back to their turnover-forcing ways in 2013: “If we're closer on routes and closer to the receiver and (make) the quarterback throw it in tight windows, we get to get our hands on balls and different type of stuff to help us get turnovers.
YURCICH GETS AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR
Mike Yurcich arrived in Stillwater more than six months ago, which means the new Cowboy offensive coordinator and his family have now had ample time to settle in Stillwater.
What's one thing about the town he knows now that he didn't in February?
“The spiders here are just huge,” he said. “I opened the door the other day and boom — I thought it was a tarantula, it might have been — came rolling in. We whacked it with a shoe.
“That's the biggest spider I've ever seen.”