Claremore Daily Progress

April 21, 2013

OSU's Gilbert shines in defense dominated spring game

CNHI News Services

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert can’t remember the last time he had an interception — it’s been that long.

After not having any interceptions in 2012, Gilbert made up for it with two interceptions in Oklahoma State’s spring game Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.

“It’s a great feeling to have,” Gilbert said. “It felt like it’s been two years ago since I had an interception. I feel like a new man.”

Gilbert’s interceptions were just a pair of big plays in a spring game dominated by defense.

But it isn’t like Gilbert is new to the scene when it comes to making plays.

“He just makes plays,” Oklahoma State linebacker Caleb Lavy said. “He was moving around, and he’s healthy. He’s going to be a huge asset in the fall for us. Him playing well was a good sign.”

A good sign, indeed. Even by coach Mike Gundy’s standards Gilbert was sub-par last season.

But Saturday was a different story — an opportunity to show the coach and the fans that he is still one of top corners in the Big 12.

“Justin played very average last year, and he would be the first to admit that,” Gundy said. “He’s certainly very talented, and he was in position to make plays today, and that’s what he needs to do for us. He needs to be a guy who has several interceptions and runs the ball back. As fast as he is, if he’s in the right area, he can get the ball off a tip — and that’s what he did today. He played very well.”

Is this a new version of Justin Gilbert? That remains to be seen.

Even so, Gilbert says there are still some things he needs to work on — mainly conditioning.

“I wanted to take (the first interception) to the endzone, but I tried to make that one cut at the end and my legs went dead,” Gilbert said. “I was down for the count.”

Gilbert might not have delivered what would have been a knockout blow to the White team, failing to take either interception all the way back, but the senior knows there will be plenty more chances when it counts.

“This gives me all the confidence I need,” Gilbert said. “I know I didn’t get a chance to take either one all the way back, but hopefully I’ll get that chance when the season starts for real.”