OSU football: Tyler Lacy continues to grow during second season as starting defensive end
Tyler Lacy’s role on the Oklahoma State football team has changed dramatically in two years.
Lacy, a defensive end from Sachse, Texas, redshirted in 2018 and never played in a game. The next season, he emerged as a starter on OSU’s relatively inexperienced defensive line, making 20 tackles but sitting out for three midseason games because of an injury.
Now, Lacy is a redshirt sophomore in a defensive unit that has become the Cowboys’ backbone through six games, and his progress continues as he thrives in his starting spot.
“The biggest way I’ve grown since last year is just trusting the defense more,” Lacy said. “Doing what the coaches tell me to do and going out there and playing full speed every down.”
After an upcoming bye weekend, Lacy will need that energetic approach when he and the No. 14 Cowboys aim to fluster OU quarterback Spencer Rattler, who has a conference-high 288.3 passing yards per game.
The Bedlam rivalry, set for Nov. 21 in Norman, is never a breeze, but Lacy has shown that he can stand up against tough opponents. From a game perspective and a confidence standpoint, Lacy is in the process of developing into a leader on the D-line.
Lacy has racked up 16 tackles this season, including the 12 solo stops that are already five more than he had last year. He has also recorded three sacks for a total loss of 12 yards, along with one forced fumble and four quarterback hurries.
His talent and football knowledge aren’t the only factors that have helped him reach this point.
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Lacy is taking his responsibilities more seriously than he did early in his career, and redshirt senior linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga can tell. Ogbongbemiga recognizes Lacy will always have a fun-loving, silly side to his personality, but he is figuring out when to set the jokes aside and focus on business.
“He’s a character; he’s a clown,” Ogbongbemiga said. “But … he knows what he can do. He knows his abilities, and he’s starting to understand what he’s capable of, and you’re starting to see it.”
Lacy’s physical transformation has contributed to this realization. The Cowboys’ depth chart lists him at 285 pounds, which means he has added about 45 pounds since he arrived at OSU as a freshman. Lacy, who stands at 6 feet 4 inches, described how working with Rob Glass and the conditioning staff has played a large part in his development.
“When I came in, I was a little small guy,” Lacy said. “And now, I fit the frame of a football player in my position, so it’s good, pretty good. It gives me a little more confidence going out there on the field that I look good. Now it’s time to go play good and put it into action.”
As Lacy plays his part in defensive schemes and tenaciously pressures quarterbacks, his family is regularly there to support him. Veronica Lacy, his mother, said she is proud of his leadership and his motivational words for teammates during tough situations.
He doesn’t surrender to an opponent easily.
During OSU’s loss to Texas, Lacy sacked quarterback Sam Ehlinger twice, including one sack in overtime, making a final push to disrupt the Longhorn offense in the red zone before Ehlinger made a touchdown pass on the next play.
One weekend later, Veronica proudly watched as Lacy and the Cowboys (5-1 overall, 4-1 Big 12) squeaked past Kansas State 20-18 because of their ability to rally in the second half.
Then he did a cartwheel on the field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. When Lacy was in the car with his family the next morning, he offered to reenact his celebration. Although Veronica told him to stay in the car instead, she laughed about the story and said she likes that he can be a jokester.
Lacy has grown, but he hasn’t changed who he is.
“You can't always be a workhorse and have no fun,” Veronica said. “So I think it makes him human, to say that, ‘Hey, I know when to turn it on and be serious, and I know how to bring out the laughter or make someone laugh.’ It makes you human.”