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Spring football notebook: OSU's Justin Gilbert progressing; Rich Rodriguez at OU practice

By Brandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter Published: March 26, 2011
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Justin Gilbert made a name for himself as a kick returner during his freshman season at Oklahoma State.

This spring, the Cowboys are hoping Gilbert begins making a name for himself as a cornerback. At 6-foot, 193 pounds, Gilbert has the size and the elite speed that defensive coordinators covet nationwide.

An offensive standout at Huntsville (Texas) High School, Gilbert made the transition from quarterback to cornerback last season. Gilbert saw spot duty on defense during his true freshman season.

“When he first got here he was a quarterback, he'd played on the offensive side of the ball,” cornerbacks coach Jason Jones said. “It took some time to get adjusted, learn techniques and the defense.”

This season, Gilbert is battling fellow sophomore Devin Hedgepeth to replace Andrew McGee as the starting cornerback opposite Brodrick Brown.

“Towards the end of the season, especially the bowl practices, he really started to mature,” Jones said. “He's progressing well. I think he'll see one of the biggest improvements (on the team).”

RICH ROD VISITS NORMAN

Former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez has been in Norman visiting OU's spring workouts.

Rodriguez, who is friends with Bob Stoops, was dismissed in January after three seasons with the Wolverines.

Rodriguez wore a crimson Sooner polo to practice Friday.