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Oklahoma State football: A look at what's behind Justin Gilbert's progress

Justin Gilbert's resurgence this spring following a disappointing junior season — and brief flirtation with declaring for the NFL Draft — has been frequently discussed.
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, Modified: June 23, 2013 at 6:04 pm •  Published: June 23, 2013

Gundy, Spencer and Malone have vowed to shift to a more aggressive defense, one that will include greater doses of tight, bump-and-run coverage.

Tracy Moore has returned from injury at outside receiver, giving Gilbert the push from a big, talented target he hasn't truly had for a full season since consistently battling Justin Blackmon in 2011.

And what about the addition of veteran cornerback Tyler Patmon, a postgraduate transfer who started three years at Kansas? During the spring, Gilbert lined up with three youngsters in Kevin Peterson, Ashton Lampkin and Miketavious Jones. Patmon's experience — and apparent rejuvenation after finding a new program — should only help.

As always, whether Gilbert has completely rebounded won't be determined until Aug. 31 and beyond.

It's clear to Spencer, though, that Gilbert has a renewed attitude. Some will argue he didn't have much of a choice — if he wants to play in the NFL, that is — after his subpar performance last season.

But there's not much more Spencer can ask for from Gilbert at this point.

“He's got to come back in fall camp with the same zeal,” Spencer said. “But I was proud of him, because he had taken a lot of hits. Those kids see that stuff. They read the papers. They look at the message boards and he had taken a lot of shots. So I was very proud of him.

“He's still got to prove it when we line up on (Aug.) 31, but I love the way he's responded.”