OSU: Wil­son is a fighter, Yur­cich says

Tulsa World - - Sports - For to the Heis­man have him the way.” help me Mark Cooper 918-581-8387 mark.cooper @tul­saworld.com Twit­ter: @mark_­coop­erjr

to clear your head, do your job. You know that the coaches pre­pared you and all your team­mates have pre­pared you and up­lifted you, so you're go­ing to do just fine.”

A sopho­more, Wil­son seemed as if he would get his chance next sea­son, when Ok­la­homa State would re­place 80 per­cent of its 2017 open­ing-day of­fen­sive line. But then right guard Larry Wil­liams went down for the sea­son and right tackle Zachary Crab­tree in­jured his toe. Then, as Crab­tree came back, cen­ter Brad Lund­blade ex­ited with a foot in­jury.

Sud­denly, when friends from Wil­son's home­town of Mid­land, Texas, trav­eled two hours north to see him in Lubbock for OSU's game at Texas Tech, Wil­son was play­ing a vi­tal role in the suc­cess of this su­perla­tive of­fense.

He was re­spon­si­ble snap­ping the foot­ball Ma­son Ru­dolph.

As OSU comes out of its bye week for a Home­com­ing tilt with Bay­lor at 2:30 p.m. Satur­day, Wil­son will again find him­self in an im­por­tant spot. Lund­blade was seen on crutches this week, so Wil­son could be in line for his first start at cen­ter af­ter start­ing the past two games at right guard.

Wil­son han­dled du­ties well when forced to move to cen­ter for the last twoplus quar­ters in OSU's 4134 win over Texas Tech.

And if there's a notch in his fa­vor, in ad­di­tion to be­ing pa­tient, it's that OSU's of­fen­sive line coaches have groomed Wil­son to be a cen­ter for the past three sea­sons.

“Bob Con­nelly, who orig­i­nally re­cruited me, wanted me at cen­ter, and Coach (Greg) Ad­kins had me at cen­ter and (Josh) Hen­son had me at cen­ter,” Wil­son said.

This sum­mer, Wil­son ro­tated between cen­ter and guard. That put him in po­si­tion to start at right guard against TCU and Texas Tech.

For the TCU game, red­shirt fresh­man Teven Jenk­ins started at right tackle, but Crab­tree came back for Texas Tech.

If Lund­blade is in­deed out, Wil­son and Jenk­ins will likely start next to each other at cen­ter and right guard.

It is not the pair­ing the Cow­boys en­vi­sioned at the start of this sea­son, when they planned for four se­nior starters on the line in front of a quar­ter­back who could still win Tro­phy.

But Wil­son and Jenk­ins have made strides since their first taste of mean­ing­ful play­ing time.

Wil­son, in par­tic­u­lar, stands out in the pro­gram be­cause of his “mean streak.”

“It means he won't back down,” of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike Yur­cich said. “It means he'll fight. It means he won't flinch. It means if he makes a mis­take, it's just be­cause he didn't have the in­for­ma­tion or didn't process the in­for­ma­tion. He's just go­ing to com­pete his ass off for you and fight.”

In ad­di­tion to Hen­son, who both Crab­tree and Wil­son cred­ited this week, Wil­son has de­vel­oped with the men­tor­ing of the vet­eran Lund­blade.

Wil­son said Lund­blade ob­serves his progress in prac­tice — and isn't afraid to pro­vide con­struc­tive crit­i­cism.

The ex­tra teacher is one rea­son why, en­ter­ing start No. 3, Wil­son feels com­fort­able han­dling his role for a top-15 team.

“I'll go over there and talk to him and ask him how I did and he'll give me his hon­est opin­ion,” Wil­son said. “So it's re­ally nice to have him there and

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