Share “OSU football: Cowboy cornerback Justin...”

OSU football: Cowboy cornerback Justin Gilbert has a tall task in Cotton Bowl

Oklahoma State's Gilbert vs. Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham is arguably the best individual matchup of Friday's Cotton Bowl. Physical skill vs. Physical skill.
Oklahoman Published: December 30, 2013


photo - Oklahoma State 's Justin Gilbert (4) celebrates his touchdown with Oklahoma State 's Lyndell Johnson (27) during the college football game between the Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Iowa State University (ISU) at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State 's Justin Gilbert (4) celebrates his touchdown with Oklahoma State 's Lyndell Johnson (27) during the college football game between the Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Iowa State University (ISU) at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Ateman not only has the size, cornerbacks coach Van Malone said. He also has the tools to use his body to out-position the defender, allowing the quarterback to have a clear target to deliver the ball to.

“He's been our scout team guy and didn't even know it,” Malone said.

Missouri quarterback James Franklin said he will remain cognizant of where Gilbert is on the field. But he also won't shy away from putting Green-Beckham in a jump-ball situation.

“I know that if it's gonna go either way,” Franklin said, “most of the time, it's probably gonna go (Green-Beckham's) way, just because of his size and athleticism.

“We'll still take some shots … (Gilbert's) a good playmaker, and so is Dorial, so sometimes it will just be who's better at the time.”

That approach is, of course, just fine with Green-Beckham.

“(Gilbert's) athletic ability is ridiculous,” he said. “But our receivers, we only do one thing — run downfield and catch balls.

“That motivates me. That pushes me to play a lot harder, really. That's what separates the great from the good.”

Malone stressed that because of the way the Cowboys mix up coverages, Kevin Peterson and Tyler Patmon must also be ready to go 1-on-1 with Green-Beckham.

But the responsibility will still primarily fall to Gilbert.

When Gilbert moves on to the next level, he'll face receivers with a wide array of skill sets. Some will be speedsters. Some will be the slot guys that he's rarely faced while playing on the outside in college.

And some will look a whole lot like Green-Beckham.

Which is why Gilbert is looking forward to Friday's challenge.

“That'll be the icing on the cake (to my career),” Gilbert said. “I'm glad we get to play these guys for the last game.”