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Everyone Praising New OL Aaron Cochran Before his OSU Debut



There is one image that replays through my mind when Aaron Cochran comes up in conversation.


I don’t know how tall those other guys are, but if I’m Justice Hill or Mason Rudolph, I’m betting on the Bear — every single time.

Cochran comes in this season as a graduate transfer from California and fills a void that was gaping after Victor Salako entered the NFL. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he is excited to see Cochran play after all the strides he has made through the summer.

“He’s done everything we’ve asked him,” Gundy said. “I’m always a little surprised when we can bring a player in and in two months, they can adjust to our culture. It’s not easy to do.”

Cochran’s weight was a concern when he got to Stillwater, Gundy said. Cochran was told he needed to lose “30 to 40” pounds before week 1, and with less than seven days until that point, he has done that.

“We knew once he got here, he would,” Gundy said. “He’s in a different environment. Humidity is considerably different. And in our pace of offense, we knew he would drop that weight. We were concerned that if he was heavy when we started, it would take him 10 to 12 days before he could ever catch up.”

California runs a similar system to OSU but with fewer up-tempo spurts. Gundy said it will be interesting to see how Cochran adapts to that change in pace.

Cochran also has never had to protect a potential Heisman Trophy winner. At 6-foot-8, 350 pounds, Cochran will man Rudolph’s blind side and keep him upright. Rudolph said he has confidence in his new tackle.

Opposite Cochran will be right tackle Zach Crabtree for the fourth straight season. With Salako out and mystery surrounding the opposite side of the line before Cochran’s decision to come to OSU, Crabtree said Cochran has been huge for the group’s cohesion.

“He’s stepped up into the role that we needed him in, and he’s been a big help,” Crabtree said.

How practice is put into a live setting remains to be seen and will be tested for the first time at 6:30 Thursday in the Cowboys’ season opener against Tulsa. But by all accounts, Cochran has been the key to the hole.

Another one of those accounts is Hill’s. Cochran will run point off the left side for Hill and the run game. The sophomore back ran for more than 1,100 yards last season behind an offensive line that was much improved but still not elite.

With another year of experience and talent under the veteran-heavy group of hogs, Hill has the potential to run even wilder in 2017, especially after Chris Carson left for the NFL and fellow backs Rennie Childs, Barry J. Sanders and Jeff Carr all moved on from OSU.

A lot of Hill’s potential will ride on Cochran’s effectiveness to block out the sun, a trait Hill said he is “comfortable” with.

“Knowing that he’s gonna make a huge hole, he’s gonna move anything that’s in the way,” Hill said.

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