April 6, 2012
STILLWATER, Okla. - The Oklahoma State football team practiced for two hours Friday on the grass fields adjacent to Gallagher-Iba Arena dressed in full pads. Among the players taking a leadership role during the session was the leading tackler from last year's team, Daytawion Lowe. His position coach, Van Malone talked about the play of Lowe and the safeties as a group:
On the Oklahoma State safeties:
"One of the things I'm really excited about is the depth of the group. Daytawion Lowe has been around and played in a lot of games and on the other side vying to replace Markelle Martin is Lavocheya Cooper, who has had opportunities to play but has suffered through some injuries. I've really been impressed by him.
"Shamiel Gary has done a really good job and I've been impressed with him, too. He's a guy that if we put him out there, I wouldn't be displeased. Zack Craig is coming along. Isaac Maselera got thrown into the fire as a true freshman last year. He's coming along, but is still behind these other guys as far as experience.
"They're all aggressive, which is what I like. One thing that I'm going to continue to have to harp on and push to them is turnovers. We want to create turnovers. As a defense, we had a lot of turnovers last year, but the safeties as a unit did not. We will emphasize turnovers because that's the way they happen. If you emphasize turnovers and you practice turnovers, then you will get turnovers."
"I'm excited about the group and I'm excited about where we're going. We just want to make sure that we maintain good health as we keep rolling. Speaking about good health, a guy that I've heard a lot about and seen on film who will be welcomed back is Deion Imade. He's working through rehab.
"You look at the group and you see a talented group. We just have to harp turnovers, being in the right place and doing a good job of getting the defense set as far as coverage goes"
On what makes Daytawion Lowe effective:
"He's played. And when guys have played a lot, there's a certain level of comfort, there's a certain level of daring where he'll try certain things and be more aggressive. Daytawion Lowe's deal is that he's aggressive and he's an attacker. Even in coverage he does that.
"More than anything, he has experience. He's seen a lot of plays, he's seen a lot of formations, he's seen a lot of routes, whereas a young player just wants to make sure he's lined up the right way."
On being a defensive coach facing the explosive Big 12 offenses:
"The Big 12 and the Pac 12 are places where defensive coaches don't have a lot of fun. I look to translate it to my players into `Hey, look man, this is what we want. We like to go seven-on-seven all day long because as many times as they put it in the air, those are all chances for us to come up with it.' That's football today. You have some conferences where they line up and smash it, but they all want to go to the stuff that we see in the Big 12. It's a big-time challenge. When you can play well in the Big 12 in the secondary and on defense, then you're doing okay."
On coaching against Oklahoma State last season while at Tulsa:
"You go into each week trying to devise a plan to stop a guy - be it a running back or a tight end or whatever. You want to stop a guy. Some teams have two. Well, the Oklahoma State offense over the years, there's been too many. You say `Okay, let's stop Justin Blackmon', but then you have Josh Cooper and other guys that just keep coming at you. On a lot of other teams, guys like that would be the Blackmon - they'd be the guy. They say that if you can't beat them, join them, so I'm just glad I joined them.
"Lining up against these guys in practice every day, it's only going to make you better to face a core group of receivers and backs like we face day in and day out at spring practice."
On the personality he wants to impart on the Oklahoma State safeties:
"Because I played safety, I coach to my mistakes. I didn't always do a great job with my eyes - reading my keys and allowing my keys to take me where I needed to be. That is very important as a safety, so that's one thing. The second thing is that I always wanted to knock the guy out when I played. I didn't think about turnovers. Turnovers change the game, so that's the second thing - we want to create turnovers. We want to get our offense back on the field because that's how you win the game. Then the third thing rolls off those others. We want to be physical and aggressive in everything that we do.
"When you get a reputation for being a smart player and being where you're supposed to be, you're going to turn the ball over and get it to your offense. When you add on being physical, then there's not a whole lot left when you play that position. That's what I want them to be."
On his early perception of Stillwater, Oklahoma State and OSU fans:
"All I ever heard was how friendly the people are. I was on campus jogging one day and almost fainted. Some people came right over to help me out, so I would say yes, people are very friendly."