Oklahoma State football: Lyndell Johnson will have to be Cowboys' 'X-factor' from new position

BY ANTHONY SLATER, Staff Writer, aslater@opubco.com Published: April 8, 2013
Advertisement
;

photo - Oklahoma State's Lyndell Johnson (27) tackles West Virginia's Geno Smith (12) as he scrambles during a college football game between Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the West Virginia University at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. OSU won 55-34. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman  SARAH PHIPPS
Oklahoma State's Lyndell Johnson (27) tackles West Virginia's Geno Smith (12) as he scrambles during a college football game between Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the West Virginia University at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. OSU won 55-34. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman SARAH PHIPPS

In a number of conversations last season, unprovoked, Mike Gundy mentioned Lyndell Johnson as the X-factor for Oklahoma State's defense.

Gundy noted the length, range and athleticism of Johnson, a backup linebacker, as keys to what made him so effective. But he also felt there was another factor, an immeasurable trait, which made Johnson's presence so vital.

“You see it now with the basketball games we're watching,” Gundy said, referring to the NCAA hoops tournament. “When a team has a certain player on the floor, they play better, for whatever reason. And when he was on the field for us defensively, we had more success than when he wasn't.”

And now the Cowboys are trying to ensure Johnson gets on the field more, plucking him from the clouded linebacker competition and inserting him at the safety position, where he'll battle incumbent Shamiel Gary for a starting spot that remains up in the air.

With spring ball in full swing, and that competition starting to take shape, Johnson talked to The Oklahoman about the position change and the challenges that lie ahead:

Q: When did they come to you with the idea?

A: Actually I went to them with it. I was really feeling like I was ready to be an every down player and I felt like I could help the team more at safety. So they gave me a shot to be able to compete with Shamiel for the starting job and right now it's going really good.

Did you bring it to them right after last season?

Yeah, right after. I knew Shaun (Lewis) was going to be a senior and I thought I had a shot at safety. So one day I just woke up, said I was going to talk to Coach Gundy about it and he said it was cool, so we talked to Coach (Glenn) Spencer and Coach (Van) Malone about it and they let me go ahead and move.

Were they pretty receptive to the idea?

Yeah, they said it was a good idea. They asked me why and I told them I was ready to be an every down player. Coach Gundy said he agreed with it, as long as I would go somewhere and compete and that's all I want to do.

So you must be pretty comfortable as a safety?

Yeah, I'm real comfortable with the move. In high school, I played safety and in college that's what I got recruited to play. There's a big difference moving from linebacker to safety, but I feel more comfortable at safety.

Continue reading this story on the...


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    VIDEO: FSU's Jameis Winston sent to locker room by Jimbo Fisher after dressing out for Clemson game
  2. 2
    Big 12 football: K-State's Snyder among nation's most underrated coaches in ESPN poll
  3. 3
    Texas A&M fan wearing what appears to be a chain mail jersey
  4. 4
    Satanic black mass seeks to free people from influence of God, organizer says
  5. 5
    Owasso beats Jenks for first time since 1993; Union rolls past BA
+ show more