For much of his Cowboys career, Wilson Youman has been shuffled back and forth between offense and defense.
And so it goes again — every day in practice.
Youman is going both ways, playing tight end and defensive end, and should be a contributor on each side of the ball. And in a nod to his improvement, OSU coach Mike Gundy had the equipment crew cut a special practice jersey for the senior, one side white, one side orange, split vertically between the numbers.
“I had them make him a special jersey, because he's been busting his butt,” Gundy said. “You know, it took Wilson two years to grow up. But now he's practicing hard. He's going to rush the passer on third downs. He's going to play some on offense. He's buying in.”
The look is a hit.
“That jersey's awesome,” said quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Said Gundy: “Wilson's gotten a kick out of it. The kids have, too. They told Weeden to throw the ball on the offensive side of the jersey, not his defensive side. Things like that can help make a team go, give them something to have fun with.”
The Cowboys are into a rugged run of preseason camp, with three two-a-day practices scheduled this week.
Gundy considers it a critical time for what he termed the “bubble” players, with roles and even redshirt decisions on the line.
“We wanted to push our guys,” Gundy said. “Even though we don't do a lot in the evening practice, we wanted to get them out there and extend them and see if we could open their lungs up a little bit. I think it'll be good.
“We've had a plan the last few years of how we approach our first game and I'm confident our guys will get the work they need in preparation of the first game.”
OPPONENT WATCH: ULL
Louisiana-Lafayette finished just 3-9 a year ago, with one of the losses a 54-28 rout at the hands of the Cowboys.
Not even a new coach, former Mississippi State assistant Mark Hudspeth, has been enough to instantly turn around perceptions. The Ragin' Cajuns were picked eighth in the nine-team Sun Belt Conference in a preseason poll of coaches.
“Do I want to be picked that low? No,” Hudspeth told reporters. “Do I like that for motivation? Yes.
“If the players are half as upset by it as I am, they probably worked out twice as hard (this summer).”