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Notebook: A More Versatile Gordon, Next Wave of OSU DBs and Perspective on the New-Look Cowboys

‘Everyone who stayed wants to be here.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — The Cowboys fall camp is humming right along with their first practice in full pads coming Tuesday.

Ollie Gordon, Lyrik Rawls and Cole Birmingham met with reporters after Tuesday’s practice. Here are three things that stood out.

A More Versatile Ollie Gordon

Ollie Gordon has been a fan favorite since committing to Oklahoma State.

A big, strong tailback with a name as solid as Ollie Gordon — what’s not to love?

Gordon ran for 308 yards and two touchdowns on 62 attempts as a true freshman. He especially shined in the Cowboys’ regular season finale against West Virginia, rushing for 136 yards and a touchdown on just 17 carries.

He was also used in the passing game perhaps a little more than you’d expect from a back of his size — catching 12 passes for 73 yards and two more scores (including the Garret Rangel Houdini act in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl).

But being versatile is nothing new for Gordon. He had some ridiculous receiving highlights from his 7-on-7 days, and he even played quarterback as a high school senior. But Gordon said Tuesday that 2023 Ollie Gordon will be more versatile than 2022 Ollie Gordon.

“Very more versatile — as in catching and getting downhill,” Gordon said. “We kinda made a running back deal where we all gotta get some jugs before practice, after practice, just stuff like that.”

The Next Wave of Defensive Backs

The Cowboys’ 2018 recruiting class featured a handful of defensive backs that left their mark on the program.

Kolby Harvell-Peel, Jason Taylor, Jarrick Bernard-Converse and Tanner McCalister all came from that group and were all vital in the Cowboys’ Fiesta Bowl-winning 2021 season. Well, there is a chance the next wave of OSU DBs is ready to get rolling this season.

After playing well in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, Lyrik Rawls said he likes the chemistry his group of DBs has built over the past few years as the group is set to make a bigger impact in 2023. Rawls was part of the 2021 recruiting class that includes Kendal Daniels, Cam Smith, Ty Williams, De’kelvion Beamon, Raymond Gay and a transferring in Trey Rucker. There’s a real chance four of the five starting defensive backs on Sept. 2 come from that recruiting class.

“We came in at the same time,” Rawls said. “So for everybody to just now starting to get some burn together, it feels like more chemistry. We all came up. Everybody’s fixing to get some time to shine. I feel like we’re gonna look pretty good back there in the back end.

“We came in pretty deep. We were already coming into an older team — the majority of us redshirted. So, I feel like us working all the way up from now to everybody actually getting on the field this year, I feel like the chemistry is making it even better.”

‘Everyone Who Stayed Wants to Be Here’

The national perspective on Oklahoma State going into this season is that it will be a down year based on all the transfer portal action the team has gone through.

We won’t know until the season whether that’s fair or not, but offensive lineman Cole Birmingham gave some great perspective Tuesday on the mindset of the team heading into 2023.

“The people who left, they had their reasons, I guess, they wanted to leave, but everyone who stayed wants to be here,” Birmingham said. “Everyone wants this team to be great. It’s just a better feeling. Everyone’s fighting for this team. It’s not really an individualized thing anymore. It’s just team play.”

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