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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys have a lot of youth in secondary

by John Helsley Published: August 21, 2014
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— When Jameis Winston peers into Oklahoma State’s secondary, he’ll spot three new starters.

In the season opener, with no opportunity to ease into things.


No Savannah State on the other side.

The Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy holder might get a bit giddy.

“Nobody likes to throw them out there against the national champion,” said Cowboys cornerbacks coach Van Malone. “But guess what, those are the cards. Let’s go.”

The situation isn’t as dire as it sounds.

Kevin Peterson started a year ago and starred opposite Justin Gilbert. He’s an All-Big 12-caliber corner. Ashton Lampkin, who has provided solid help as a reserve, steps into the other starter’s role, and Malone believes he’s ready to thrive.

At free safety, senior Larry Stephens is coming off his best August as a Cowboy and is ready to be a major contributor for the first time.

After that, the uncertainty enters. The backup corners and safeties are freshmen and sophomores, and redshirt freshman Tre Flowers is projected to start at strong safety.

For Cowboys coaches, all that youth brings a mixed bag.

“You know, it’s kind of double-edged there,” said Mike Gundy. “You have times you get a little frustrated because there’s so many young players out there. But then also, it’s very enjoyable to watch them progress and develop.

“It’s a different year for us. We have a lot of players that are inexperienced and they’re learning on the run, so we bring them along just like we did the last group.”

CORNERBACKS

STARTERS

1 Kevin Peterson;;5-11;;185;;Jr.;;Wagoner

Justin Gilbert was great a year ago. And quietly, Peterson was, too, on the opposite side. Now it’s his turn to be the name in the secondary, and he appears more than up for it.

6 Ashton Lampkin;;5-11;;180;;Jr.;;Fort Worth, Texas

As the third corner to the Peterson-Gilbert tandem, Lampkin served as a key backup and OSU’s special teams MVP. There’s confidence that he’ll step into a starting role with ease.

BACKUPS

2 Darius Curry;;6-1;;190;;Fr.;;Flowery Branch, Ga.

The younger Curry brother on the OSU roster to receiver C.J., Darius appears ready to make his own name after a redshirt season in 2013.

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