Justin Gilbert took some grief for his 2012 season.
And Gilbert accepts that some of it was warranted, after he often struggled in coverage and failed to produce an interception in the pass-crazed Big 12, after picking off five in what seemed like a breakout 2011 performance for the senior-to-be cornerback.
So Gilbert is back for more. And determined to do — and be — better. Much better. And that’s one reason he returned to OSU, rather than take a shot at the NFL, hoping that his 2011 tape and a strong performance at the combine could re-establish his stock. Gilbert talked about that decision Wednesday, before the Cowboys practice in the rain and cold inside Boone Pickens Stadium.
“I reflected on my season and that’s what I really focused on,” Gilbert said. “I didn’t really have the season that I wanted, so I’m back to fix the mistakes that I made last season and play more aggressively and try and focus on those things.”
So far, so good, is the word on Gilbert’s spring.
“It’s been motivating so far,” he said. “The other day at practice, I didn’t take any plays off and I just keep going out with that mentality.”
Some say he relaxed and, thus, regressed last fall. Some say he was distracted by off-the-field factors.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said he’s seen an adjustment in Gilbert’s everyday approach and focus.
“Every time you look at him, he’ll peirce right through you,” Spencer said. “He’s got a great look. He’s playing with a chip on his shoulder and it’s awesome to see. It starts with him. He’s got the talent to do a lot of things. What we want to get out of him is to maximize himself in every game and every practice. He’s accepted that and he’s been really impressive this spring.”