Three Hours of Spring Football Fun

STILLWATER - Knowing that after Wednesday and Thursday his football players will get a week plus two full weekends of rest and relaxation, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy pushed the work load up a notch Wednesday as the Cowboys were on the field for nearly three hours in their second spring football practice.

It was shorts and helmets again as mandated by the NCAA, but the pads go on Thursday in the Cowboys third workout and the last one before spring break.

Wednesday's practice was more basics on both sides of the ball. It was day two of installation of the Oklahoma State version of the spread offense born in the Hal Mumme/Mike Leach/Dana Holgorsen family of offense and now being tweaked and having ownership taken by new Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

"You can meet all the time and study film but the exciting part is getting on the feild and coaching them," said Monken, who has emphasized that he has taken an active role in this offense and knows he has to embrace and make the offense his own.

"The really rewarding part of this is coaching the players and then seeing them have success. It is different signaling and working with the quarterbacks. I'm a little more used to having the wide receivers and being a little more involved (with the teaching)."

As fans, you have heard of three days of installation for the offense, but may not know how that is divided up. The division is really made based on personnel groupings with one day being the run/pass/screen/special plays for 10 personnel, another day would be 11 personnel, and a third day would be 12 personnel. It makes for a good way to instruct and get maximum work in for the offense.

"Coach Monken really overemphasizes it for him and for all of us that we are on the same page," said quarterback Brandon Weeden. "He has done a great job and he has a real good feel for it (the offense)."

The work seems to be going smooth as Monken is spot on with the signals. One Oklahoma State coach on offense confirmed, as did Brandon Weeden on Monday, that a little too much may be made of Weeden teaching the offense to Monken. It has been a group project and as we reported Monken comes in with a huge football background and the ability to pick up just about any offense in a representative amount of time.

"What you do is you work your rear end off to not only learn what they had done but to learn the players better, analyze what you like and dislike and then kind of move forward with it," said Monken. "It's not broke here. You've got good players, we're going to score points, we're going to be exciting to watch, and that has been exciting and fun."

The quarterbacks are all throwing well and the competitiveness, especially with Clint Chelf and Johnny Deaton, is going to be fun to watch. The receivers in the early portion of practice were much better than Monday with very few drops. Execution is this offense's best friend.

The defense has plenty of its own work to do and a lot of repetition and perfecting for all the young players that factor in the opening depth chart of the spring. There are 17 first or second year players that factor in the depth chart on defense with seven up front on the line, six at the linebacker positions, and four in the secondary. That is a lot of youth.

"The good thing is a lot of those guys did get to play a lot of football last season," said defensive coordinator Bill Young of the young players such as linebackers Caleb Lavey, Tyler Johnson, and Shaun Lewis and defensive backs like corners Devin Hedgepeth and Justin Gilbert.

"We are looking for great things out of those guys. We just need for a lot of those young players to step up and fill in."

The Cowboys go through day three of offensive installation Thursday and the entire intensity should pick up with full pads going on. The practices have been high in effort and intensity, but it is football and pads tend to change things.

After Thursday's practice the Cowboys don't practice again until after spring break on Tuesday, March 22. The spring football season concludes on Saturday, April 16, with the Orange-White Game at 2 p.m. in Boone Pickens Stadium.

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