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Freshman Tylan Wallace Sees First Action in Punt Return Duty



Jalen McCleskey’s second muffed punt of the season on Saturday led to a mid-game change at the punt returner position. After the game, head coach Mike Gundy addressed the move and attributed the mishandled punt to windy conditions, but made clear his high expectations of the position no matter the weather.

“It was a little bit of an issue,” Gundy said of the wind. “The one punt that McCleskey bobbled, ball was coming straight down — but he’s got to make that play. We have to be secure in at least possessing the ball.”

With McCleskey’s backup Dillon Stoner out with a hamstring injury, it was true freshman Tylan Wallace who saw his first action fielding punts. And due to the windy conditions, Gundy says they told him to stay away from it if the ball wasn’t rotating the way they liked it, which he wisely obeyed.

“If the ball was rotating a certain way, we told him to get away from it. If it was floating the correct way, we told him to field it. It’s difficult to field punts rotating down into the wind. So that’s what we told him.”

Given the fact that Stoner is more valuable as a receiver than Wallace at this juncture, I’d like to see the true freshman get an opportunity to showcase his talents in the return game moving forward considering his redshirt has already been burned. It would also reduce the risk of Stoner getting dinged up in a facet of the game he’s not necessarily needed in.

Gundy wouldn’t commit to whether or not OSU intended to stick with Wallace or let McCleskey take back his job or let a healthy Stoner take over punt return duties next week. But it will be a topic of discussion this week as OSU prepares to take on Texas in Austin on Saturday.

“We’re going to look into it,” said Gundy. “Right now we haven’t had a chance to talk about it, so we’re not sure what we’re going to do.”


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