OSU football: There's no legislating against Justin Gilbert's speed

OSU FOOTBALL — The NCAA's new kickoff rules are going to limit Justin Gilbert's number of returns. But he says if he can bring it out, he will.
by John Helsley Published: August 26, 2012
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You can't legislate against speed. Not on the football field.

So Justin Gilbert still has hope as a return man.

The NCAA's new kickoff rule — spotting the ball at the 35, instead of the 30 — is designed to reduce the number of returns, considered one of the most dangerous plays in the game.

In doing so, it'll likely limit the return possibilities of the Cowboys' Gilbert, one of the most dangerous return men in the game.

But beware, coverage teams, Gilbert won't simply surrender.

On a windy Oklahoma day, kickoffs may not carry. And kickers are prone to an occasional mishit. Sky kicks aren't advisable, either.

Mike Gundy is giving Gilbert the green light.

And green means go.

“Any time he can, we want him bringing it out,” Gundy said.

Gilbert has already tied the OSU record of four kickoff returns for touchdowns — in two seasons — matching the four-year mark of Perrish Cox. Only Gilbert and Barry Sanders have taken back kicks 100 yards for the Cowboys.

The junior already ranks second all-time at OSU with 1,401 kickoff return yards. And he enters 2012 tied for the NCAA lead among all active players with his four return TDs, while his career return average of 26.94 is fifth among all returning players.

The records chase may slow down. Still, Gilbert's not done yet.

Continue reading this story on the...

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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JUSTIN GILBERT'S CAMPAIGN SLOGAN

“Go, Go, Go With Gilbert!”

One of the fastest players in the Big 12, Justin Gilbert's speed has been best on display during kick returns. Just a junior, he's already tied the OSU record with four kick returns for touchdowns. The NCAA's new kickoff rule may limit Gilbert's opportunities for runbacks, but he's being encouraged to go, pretty much given a green light by Cowboys coach Mike Gundy.

JUSTIN GILBERT'S ENDORSEMENTS

* Cowboys coach Mike Gundy: “Get him back there and let him go, because he's such a threat. You just have to make one mistake, and if he hits a seam, it's going to be hard to catch him.”

* OSU cornerback Devin Hedgepeth: “He's so fast, he's really a threat to score on any return. All he needs is a chance. A crack.”

* Kickoff return coach Kasey Dunn: “What makes Justin Gilbert special as a kick returner is his speed. If he can get to a corner, he's gone. He's also fearless enough to explode through a crease. And when he does that, nobody is going to catch him.”

* OSU receiver Isaiah Anderson: “My advice to other teams would be to try to kick it out of the end zone, because he's going to return it. He's so quick at finding the holes and once he does, he hits it. He's very elusive and that's his best asset.”

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