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Notebook: Ross Showing Versatility, the Veteran Korie Black and Offensive Line Aggression

Three things from practice this week.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Time flies, and the Cowboys have just about a week left of spring practices.

Here are three things that stood out when talking with players on Monday.

Ross Looks to Showcase Versatility in 2023

An often overlooked piece of OSU’s defense, Xavier Ross enters his senior season in 2023 after making his first four career starts to end 2022.

In 202 defensive line snaps last season (according to PFF), Ross made 11 tackles, including a pair of tackles for loss. He came to Stillwater in 2019 as a three-star prospect out of Cedar Hills, Texas, turning down offers to Indiana, Purdue, Vanderbilt and others.

He enters Bryan Nardo’s new 3-3-5 scheme as a 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle. The Cowboys will be multiple up front, though. Whether there are three defensive linemen on the field or four, Ross said he looks forward to showing how versatile he can be.

“I feel like this will show my versatility, to be able to play the 3, the 2I, the 5,” Ross said. “It gives me a lot more room to show my athleticism, show I can move for a guy my size. I’m just ready to display it on Saturdays for the fans.”

Black Enters 2023 as Most Veteran Defensive Back

It’s hard to imagine that Korie Black is entering his senior year.

Black and Jabbar Muhammad, who has since transferred to Washington, used to be the young pups on the back end of OSU’s defense, but Black enters 2023 as the most veteran guy of the group. He was one of four Cowboy defenders to start all 13 games last season, making 25 tackles, breaking up four passes and forcing a fumble.

OSU did bring in some experience around Black. Arkansas State transfer Kenneth Harris came in after starting 18 games with the Red Wolves, and Lardarius Webb Jr. joins from the junior college ranks after earning NJCAA All-America status last season.

That on top of the experience guys like Kendal Daniels and Cam Smith gained last season means that, though there is some turnover on the back end, the Cowboys do have some experience.

“It’s nothing crazy,” Black said. “All these guys, they’re mature. They understand. We’re bought in. We’ve got people that have got experience, as well. So it’s not like just nobody has experience. People got experience on the back end, but I got, I guess you could say, the most last year. I started.”

Springfield Talks Aggression

Mike Gundy spoke last week on attempting to change the mindset of the offensive line room to be more aggressive, and it sounds like that message is getting through.

Offensive tackle Jake Springfield said the Cowboys are getting downhill more with the additions of some new schemes and that they hope to be called nasty. But how do you get there?

“Just being consistent,” Springfield said. “And having that mindset that they know we’re running it, we know we’re running it, stop us if you can. Just being able to impose our will on them and there’s nothing they can do about it.”

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