Oklahoma State had just finished its first fall practice Friday. Coaches and players made the short march across Hall of Fame Avenue to talk with reporters just outside Boone Pickens Stadium’s north gates.
Not much can be taken from light workouts in just helmets and jerseys, but there had to be some highlights. The question: who made a play that made you say, “wow.”
Cornerback Kevin Peterson answered quickly: Josh Furman.
Furman, a senior transfer from the University of Michigan, apparently made a head-turning interception during a 7-on-7 scrimmage.
“It’s a testimony to his athleticism, the work he’s been doing in the film room, weight room and things like that,” Peterson said. “He’s buying in and really getting his head ready to play in the game come Florida State.”
That’s good news for the OSU, especially considering Furman’s potential role in 2014. The former safety has spent the summer and early fall playing at “star” linebacker, somewhat of a hybrid position that includes a heavy dose of pass coverage.
It’s the spot vacated by Shaun Lewis, and one the Cowboys are in desperate need of filling.
But by no means is Furman locked in to start against Florida State. He has a lot to prove.
Over three years at Michigan, Furman appeared in just 32 games, mostly on special teams. He made three starts at safety last season, but only played at the position in four games all year. Furman’s career stats: 29 tackles and one pass deflection.
That’s not a resume that suggests the former Wolverine will undoubtedly flourish with the Cowboys.
However, defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said with the stripped depth at linebacker this season, he might not have a choice but to throw Furman into the mix right away.
“He’s a bigger safety and we’ll play him at our star linebacker position,” Spencer said. “We brought him in, that was the goal, to get him ready to play that position.”
By all accounts, Furman’s play during Friday’s practice was another building block toward excelling in that role.
Safety Tre Flowers praised Furman’s coverage ability and physicality, saying it came as no surprise because “coming from the Big 10, all they do is tackle.”
But expectations are high. Need proof? Flowers said he witnessed the interception Peterson mentioned, but that’s not all he saw.
“He should have had more than one,” Flowers laughed. “But that’s none of my business.”