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Oklahoma State football: Tracy Moore is the perfect practice partner for Justin Gilbert

The loss of Justin Blackmon to the NFL and Moore to injury left Gilbert without anyone to challenge him in practice. The lack of intensity carried over to games.
by John Helsley Published: April 18, 2013
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photo - OSU's Justin Gilbert (4) returns an intercepted Baylor pass from the end zone past Terrance Williams (2) of Baylor  in the second quarter during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Baylor University Bears (BU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD
OSU's Justin Gilbert (4) returns an intercepted Baylor pass from the end zone past Terrance Williams (2) of Baylor in the second quarter during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Baylor University Bears (BU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Justin Gilbert readily admits he lost something a year ago.

Focus, perhaps. Or maybe some intensity.

For sure he was missing his practice partner.

After growing and thriving as a sophomore through daily head-to-head battles with Justin Blackmon, Gilbert was hardly pushed in practice last fall once Tracy Moore was lost to injury.

Instead, the Cowboys cornerback was pushed around in games, struggling at times in pass coverage and finishing without an interception, after picking off five the previous season.

“I didn't really have the season I wanted,” said Gilbert, who was pegged as all-conference caliber, “so I'm back to fix the mistakes that I made and to play more aggressively and try and focus on those things. It's been motivating so far.”

Moore — who's back and healthy and a handful — has been motivating as well. A physical receiver at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, the senior wideout presents a major matchup problem for corners on the edge, Gilbert included.

So the battles are back on.

“With me and Gilbert, it's always a battle,” Moore said. “Every day is a battle.”

And the everyday competition should be beneficial to both. Gilbert is counting on it, recalling his clashes with Blackmon.

“It got my confidence level up, going against (Blackmon) in practice every day,” Gilbert said. “So me going against Tracy every day, that's going to get my confidence back up.”

Way up, if you listen to the playful Gilbert.

“I've been winning most of the matchups,” he said, “so it's going good so far.”

Moore, from across the interview room, just smiles and shakes his head.

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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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