Cowboy Practice Notes: Aug. 13

Disposed OU wide receiver signee Josh Jarboe has resurfaced at Troy. A school known as a place for second chances has brought in the Georgia native and highly recruited wide receiver that was convicted of bringing a semiautomatic weapon to his high school and then was booted from the OU program after a rap he performed with lyrics on gun violence and laced with obscenities made it to YouTube.

Troy University head football coach Larry Blakeney announced Wednesday the addition of Josh Jarboe, a receiver from Cedar Grove High School in Decatur, Ga., to the Trojans roster.

Jarboe was rated as one of the top 10 prep receivers in the nation by ESPN last year. He originally signed with the University of Oklahoma, but will enroll at Troy University.

"Troy University has always been interested in providing opportunities for young people to better themselves, and this is a situation where a young man who has made some mistakes is looking for a second chance," Blakeney said. "I have met with Josh, and I am convinced that he is ready, and willing, to do the things we need for him to do to be a productive member of both this football team and the Troy University community."

Troy makes the trip to Stillwater to face the Cowboys on Sept. 27.

Different Sides on Blocking
Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World asked Cowboy quarterback Zac Robinson an interesting question after practice on Wednesday: Whether he had ever been told not to do what he did on that one play against Nebraska last season, which was throw his body into a block on a reverse?

"No, the block, huh uh," said Robinson. "They just said good job and didn't really talk about it. That was one of my most favorite plays of the season because when I looked to the sidelines everybody was fired up. Defensive guys were getting fired up.

"I have fun kind of doing that and I know I have to watch that sometimes but anytime I can get a clean shot then I'm going to do it."

On the other hand, wide receiver Dez Bryant was told by Mike Gundy and the coaching staff that he needed to mature and become a better blocker to live up to his potential.

"I think I have improved a lot as a blocker," said Bryant after the practice Wednesday. "These last few practices I haven't really worried about getting the ball because I was really focusing on my weaknesses, which is blocking. I have gotten a lot better at that. It is a mental thing and you have to want to block."

"He's not the finished product but he has gotten better," said Gundy. "He's been playing a lot better without the ball in his hands."

Burton Excited
Derek Burton is a man of few words. The 6-4, 275-pound defensive end out of Muskogee, and the son of former Cowboy offensive lineman Derek Burton Sr., Burton has become one of the leaders on the OSU defense. As the team grinds through the final days of fall camp he is pointing out the near future for himself and his teammates.

"I've been excited since I realized that I had to be the guy at my position this year," Burton exclaimed when asked about the upcoming season opener and the anticipation for it. "The closer it gets to the game, the more pumped up I get."

Better the Second Time Around
Tonga Tea Jr. is expected to be the Cowboys starter at nose tackle in the season opener with Washington State in Seattle. During camp, Gundy has raved about Tea and his improvement in his second season out of Snow Community College, and with his weight loss from 330 to 305 pounds. Tea said being a Division I football player is much better in year two than in the first 12 months.

"It's a lot better," said Tea. "The biggest difference is just getting acclimated to the heat and the game, the game itself and just pretty much got my conditioning up. I dropped all that weight and it's a lot easier."

Born in Hawaii, spending most of his time growing up in Alaska, Tea is huge on family which has worked out well since his family, including his dad, have moved to Oklahoma to watch him play his senior season.

"They moved down here to watch me play for a little bit and then they are going to move back to Alaska," explained Tea. "I don't have to worry about every time I'm homesick, I can just go about 60 miles and get a home cooked meal."

We're curious, what's on the menu?"Everything ... pig, taro (a plant), and palusami (made with spinach, onion, and coconut cream)."

Yes, I had to look those up, but one web site I used for my research called tar and palusami "food of the gods."

We also asked Tonga if he's set any goals for this season and the answer was simple and matched the orange bands the Cowboy players are wearing.

"I just want to help my defense out and take them to the Big 12 championship."

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