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Defense creating a new legacy

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Oklahoma State's Thomas Harper takes down a TCU player during the Oklahoma State vs. TCU football game on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at Boone Pickens Stadium.

In a legacy of Oklahoma State star offensive players, the team is establishing a new look these days.

The Cowboys were looking at the 2020 season last year this time around as something that fans could not wait to see. Now, in a conference that’s quarterback happy and a school with a handful of legendary players on the offensive side, the scene has changed.

For their depth in 2021, the Cowboys have more to fill on their offensive side.

While the defense does lose a big piece at cornerback in Rodarius Williams, they have familiar faces to fill, like Christian Holmes and Thomas Harper.

Holmes came in as a transfer and played a lot of downs in the secondary rotation, totaling 24 tackles and six pass breakups. In 2020, Harper was a reliable defender who would make quite the effort to always make a challenge on passes. He finished with 30 total tackles and one interception. Harper also finished his year as a Second Team Academic All-Big 12.

While the defensive line will be without their big guy up front, Cameron Murray, the Cowboys will bring back multiple pass rushers that defensive coordinator Jim Knowles loves to implement on third down plays.

When head coach Mike Gundy was asked about the depth of every team, he said that the defense is all pretty familiar with each other.

“Defensively, we’re pretty mature, we didn’t play a lot of underclassmen,” Gundy said.

The linebacker position looks to be in the hands of veteran leadership as well. With Malcolm Rodriguez, being the leader of the pack, will look to work with Devin Harper, taking advantage of the extra year given by the NCAA from the pandemic.

Rodriguez was all about the defense making a name for itself to change the program around for at least the time being.

“You don’t hear it very often here, you just always hear about an offensive school here, so just to hear that, it just goes to show that it’s kind of turned around for our defense,” Rodriguez said.