August 29, 2009
Eye to the Future: Youman looks ahead
Asked about the upcoming season and what could be on the horizon for Oklahoma State, Wilson Youman glances into the distance, smiles and considers the possibilities.
"It really could be one of THOSE years," Youman said excitedly. "I'm not talking down on any team, because every team we play is going to step on the field and give it their all. By looking at the schedule, I feel like we should have a really good season."
He's not alone there, given OSU's top rankings from preseason magazines to the two major polls. While they're not in the top two or three, that doesn't matter. Being in the top 10-15 means you have a shot at major things, so it's close enough.
And that realization is a big thing for these Cowboys. And in the case of Youman, a 6-5, 255-pound tight end, it also means a chance to contribute in a big way on the field. With the departure of Brandon Pettigrew to the NFL, the position has no incumbent, meaning Young and Jamal Mosley will likely duel for the starter's role. It's a big chance for a guy who saw action in all 13 games last season, albeit in a small role. He only made one catch for four yards in 2008. But he got solid playing time when Pettigrew was sidelined by injury. Between that and the lessons he learned from him, Youman believes he's in prime position.
"That could be a real strong point for me," he said. "Because when he got hurt - really before he got hurt - he taught me a lot of things about playing tight end. Coming from high school, I had never played tight end. I was a defensive end and he told me how to read defenses, how to block a certain way, stuff like that. Then when he got hurt and my name was called, I just used everything he taught me and then used it to my advantage and it just helped me."
Being a tight end is a multi-faceted deal as it is. Not only are you expected to block like a lineman, you're also expected to head out for receiving duties at times as well. As far as Youman is concerned, that's something he feels he needs to work on.
"As a tight end, I can block real good, but my pass-catching is not magnificent, but it's good," he said. "If anything, I would improve on my passing game."
But that other half of being a tight end - blocking - is something he's much more confident about.
"It really is just as important," he said. "You could take something like a small block that nobody would notice that I could do on the perimeter and that would allow one of our running backs just to break loose, so that could be just as important as catching a pass."
The St. Martinville , La. , product knows he could potentially have big shoes to feel, but also is eager to make an impact ("I'm really excited. I've just been waiting my turn and now it's my turn").
But back to THOSE possibilities for 2009. Youman said he expects the Pokes to be better than the 2008 edition, but that the future can't really be predicted. While that is most certainly true, OSU seems to have the pieces to compete in a major way on the field this season.
"I wish I could (predict the future so) I'd know exactly where we were going to end up," he said. "That's what I'm kind of nervous about. I'm just ready to know what's going to happen at the end of this season, whether it's a bowl game, a national championship. Last year, I was really excited because at one point in the season we were actually talking about national championship."
And while that might seem premature at this point, just knowing it's a legit possibility is what has Youman and the Cowboys eager to get the 2009 slate underway.
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