Cowboy Football Notebook: Wednesday

Starting strong safety Markelle Martin is the leading returning tackle on the Oklahoma State defense with 45 tackles last season, but what Martin brings to the defense is more than being a physical football player. Back in the secondary there is no question that Martin in the ring leader for fellow veterans like Johnny Thomas, Brodrick Brown, Andrew McGee, and good friend Victor Johnson.

"I really like that role," said Martin at the start of fall camp. "I really embraced that all summer. I put it on myself to be a leader and I think the other guys responded to it. I've watched other guys like Andre Sexton and Lucien (Antoine) be leaders."

"Markelle is playing like the veteran that we all hoped he would," said safeties coach Joe DeForest, who said as special teams coordinator that he has to resist the temptation to put Martin on every special teams unit.

"He's been a great leader for us through the summer and he's continued that throughout camp. I think he's got a chance to be really, really special. He's the best I've ever coached at that position, and there's no question.

"He's long. He can run. He's got great ball skills and everybody knows that he'll hit you, so I'm very excited about him."

All the talk is the health of the defensive tackles or of middle linebacker Orie Lemon returning after his knee injury, but Markelle Martin also needs to stay healthy to ensure that the Cowboy defense will be at its best.

The Other Guys are Good Too
Markelle Martin is not alone and the safety position may be the deepest on the squad, making DeForest look really good as a coach. We all know that talent makes a coach look good.

"Johnny Thomas and Victor Johnson will be at the other safety spot," said DeForest, as Johnson is now back practicing with the team. "We feel like both of those guys have played a lot of football, too. They're going into their third year so they're in the time where they need to not make mistakes and start playing the ball better and start being a factor for our defense."

DeForest also has some ypung "pups" at safety that will look good in the future and maybe some this season, but will also likely help on the special teams in 2010.

"As far as the young guys go, I think we've got three good ones in Lavocheya Cooper, Zack Craig and Deion Imade," said DeForest. "I think right now, Deion is ahead of those other two, but they're all swimming right now.

"They'll all play this year. They'll play on special teams for sure. We have to use them. There's no doubt that we have to use them, just because of the lack of numbers that we have and we lost some depth from last year."

Final Two Freshmen Report
The two final freshmen that will be checking in with the 2010 recruiting class arrived in Stillwater on Wednesday. Defensive tackle Christian Littlehead of Tahlequah (Sequoyah), Okla., arrived early in the day and had time to take care of among other things his physical with team doctor Dr. Val Gene Iven.

Defensive lineman Joseph Okafor was scheduled to arrive around 7:30 p.m. Both players will officially start practicing on Monday when the roster is expanded from the 105 camp number.

Keeping the Weight On
With the lack of depth at defensive tackle there are some defensive ends that are being moved down to tackle.

Sophomore Cooper Bassett is one of those as that started for the Tuttle, Okla., product in the spring. Freshman Davidell Collins is also playing some inside at defensive tackle. Both guys weigh around 265 to 270 pounds but in the heat it is tough to keep those pounds on that they so drastically need.

"The funny thing is with the way they feed us and are shoving food down our throat I weighed 268 yesterday and that is my all-time high, so we are definitely putting it back on," said Bassett.

How about that! Wouldn't you love to be in a situation where they are shoving food, really good food, down your throat. Oh, to be young and a football hero.


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