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Oklahoma State football: Can Tyreek Hill's versatility – and speed – flip the switch for OSU?

David Glidden recognizes one thing in what he’s seen from Tyreek Hill: “an unbelievable talent.” Yet describing Hill, providing details on those talents… well, that’s something different, and seemingly difficult, more challenging even than trying to catch the proven track star.
by John Helsley Published: August 25, 2014

David Glidden recognizes one thing in what he’s seen from Tyreek Hill: “an unbelievable talent.”

Yet describing Hill, providing details on those talents… well, that’s something different, and seemingly difficult, more challenging even than trying to catch the proven track star.

“Everybody I talk to,” Glidden said, “they ask me about him and I say, ‘You’re just going to have to wait and see. It’s something you can’t really describe.’”

Cowboys coaches – and fans – hope Hill ultimately gains a simple description.

Game changer.

And that’s game changer on a large scale, in terms of enhancing Oklahoma State’s season, and engaging the Tyreek the Freek phenomena nationally.

By now, everyone paying attention has heard about Hill’s speed, and it’s legit. He blazed to OSU records in the 60-meter dash twice during the indoor track season and won the 200 at the Big 12 championships.

As a high school track standout in Georgia, he covered the 200 in 20.14 – the second fastest prep mark in the U.S. … ever. That time, understand, would have placed sixth at the 2012 London Olympics.

So OK, Hill is fast.

But can he play football?

“Tyreek is not just track fast, he’s football fast,” said Cowboys cornerback Kevin Peterson, who has dealt with Hill in practice. “And he has good jukes, a low center of gravity.

“The more the ball is in his hands, the better I feel as a defense. Because we’re not going to be on the field.”

And therein lies the question, perhaps the defining question to this Cowboys season.

How much will Hill have the ball in his hands?

Mike Gundy has said the goal is to get Hill 15 to 20 touches a game. As a prototypical multi-purpose player, there are varied ways to accomplish that, involving the three Rs: rushing, receiving and returning.

Expect Hill to do it all.

At Garden City Community College, Hill did do it all, even appearing as a wildcat quarterback on occasion. So potentially add passing to his expanded tool kit.

"He can throw,” said Garden City coach Matt Miller. “But I don't think he ever completed a pass for me."

Still, the threat alone is enough to stress defensive coordinators, who must find ways to account for Hill at all times.

“Tyreek puts a lot of stress on us,” said Cowboys defensive assistant Van Malone. “You don’t know where he’s going to be lining up. Is he going to be a running back? Is he going to be a receiver? You don’t know.

“For defenses, that’s a problem. Because we sit over on the sideline and say, ‘OK, what personnel do they have in the game?’ They have three wide receivers, two running backs…’

“Tyreek comes in, what is he? Initially before you make a call, he’s a problem, because you don’t even know what he is. ‘Oh, he’s a wide receiver this time, we’ve got to send out another DB.’ Then he’s a running back the next time. So before the ball even snaps, there’s a problem.”

The problem doesn’t end there.

“And then when the ball snaps,” Malone said, “he’s got this little button he turns on and makes him run real fast.”

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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