Notebook: Woodard on Stillwater, Bernard-Converse’s Comfort, Antwine’s Strength

September 30, 2021

The Cowboys get a week to rest next week, but before that gets here, they have a top 25 bout against fellow-unbeaten Baylor.

Oklahoma State players met with the media after practice Tuesday. Here are three things they hit on.

Stillward ‘Felt Like Home’ for Woodard

Hunter Woodard is one of only three Cowboys from Illinois.

A Tuscola, Illinois native, Woodard has been instrumental in OSU’s offensive line regaining its footing this season. Pro Football Focus graded Woodard’s performance in Boise as a 76.6, the second-highest an OSU lineman has graded this season (trailing Josh Sills’ performance against K-State this past week).

Woodard’s high school coaching staff had a tie to the OSU coaching staff. That led to the Pokes being able to pluck Woodard out of the Prairie State despite him having offers closer to home, like Illinois and Notre Dame.

“Just the area, the atmosphere, the Cowboy culture, it felt like home.” Woodard said. “Stillwater just kind of has this small-town feel that most college towns don’t really have, and it felt like home.”

Bernard-Converse’s Comfort at Corner Growing

K-State attacked Jarrick Bernard-Converse at the start of Saturday’s game, but the OSU corner stood up to the test.

K-State quarterback Will Howard threw Bernard-Converse’s direction five times on the opening drive, completing two of those passes for 15 yards. Bernard-Converse had three pass breakups in that drive, all of which denied the Wildcats touchdowns.

Bernard-Converse is in just his second season as a corner, but he started as a safety in 2018 and 2019. On the season he has 16 tackles and a team-best four pass breakups.

“I feel like I’m more comfortable at corner now because I’ve got the experience, and I’ve learned from a lot of guys before me,” Bernard-Converse said. “I feel more comfortable now, and I feel like it’s a better fit.”

Antwine’s Strength

OSU safety Kolby Harvell-Peel said it’s tougher for the linemen to do pullups.

His reasoning makes sense, they have to pull up more body weight. At 300 pounds, Israel Antwine in apparently an exception to the rule, though.

“I looked up one day, and Izzy had no band, so he was doing them just by himself, and he had eight chains on his neck,” Harvell-Peel said. “He did them and jumped off and he was like, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ To see that dude be a D-lineman and be able to do that, he’s a freak show.”

Antwine had his best game of the young season against K-State where he had two tackles for loss, a sack and a pair of quarterback hurries.

In his third season with the Cowboys after transferring from Colorado, Antwine is asked to do a lot of dirty work on the interior of the Cowboys’ defensive line. He has six tackles in three games this season, having missed the season-opener against Missouri State.

“He’s made of iron,” Brendon Evers said. “If he had an injury, he sure wouldn’t tell ya. It was really good to see him come back last game. He seems to be coming along well. He’s a hard-worker in the room, always first in line.”

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