Break Over As Cowboys Get Back To Work

Spring break is over and that means it is back to spring football for the Oklahoma State Cowboys with 12 of the 15 NCAA-allotted workout left to conduct. Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and his staff will meet back with players on Monday afternoon with a team meeting and then they will get back to practice on Tuesday.

This week's practice schedule is for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. A traditional smart move by Gundy is giving the players Monday to get back in the swing of campus and academic life before throwing in a practice. It has traditionally made for a better practice and in the spring that is the objective.

If there were a team that could handle that Monday practice back from break it would be this one because it is mature with lots of returning starters and a very business-like attitude.

On offense, new offensive coordinator Todd Monken will get into his second round of three-day installation of the offense. The first went so smooth that there is no reason to think that won't continue. This offense and it's success is as much about repetition as it is anything.

During the first three practices prior to spring break the communication was smooth and the players proved they had retained much of what they were doing. Now the fun part comes up with some of the scrimmage work, which will get underway later this week, and seeing how Monken puts together plays and how his thinking and attack mode causes problems for a defense.

The scrimmages are Monken's opportunity to test run play combinations and how he feels comfortable building a personality within the offense.

A former quarterback that loves to see success through the air, Monken will mix his love with the passing game with Gundy's desire to see his team have success with the run game. The mix last season was close to 60/40 pass/run and I would look for that to continue and possible shrink a little toward run, maybe a 55/45 ratio or somewhere in between that and last season.

When you have an arm like Brandon Weeden and receivers like the Cowboys, starting with Justin Blackmon, then you will throw the ball.

The offensive line is stable, but if one of the backups showed he is ready to compete to break in before spring break it was Daniel Koenig. The younger Koenig, just a redshirt freshman, showed why offensive line coach Joe Wickline had him in the two deep to start the season.

Koenig is 6-6 and 290 and he was tearing up defenders in drills during the last practice, which was in full pads. The line will be a tough group to crack with tackles Levy Adcock and Nick Martinez, guards Jonathan Rush and Lane Taylor, and center Grant Garner.

Defensively, the best tackle candidate in the first three practices looked like it was Christian Littlehead and that is not a surprise as Littlehead showed last fall he was a hard worker and serious about playing at Oklahoma State. He and Nigel Nicholas would start at defensive tackle if the Cowboys played this Saturday.

Defensive coordinator Bill Young would tell you it is good they don't. Maurice Hayes is coming along and putting forth the effort, but he's just a tad bit rusty and still working to get in shape. It would be nice to get Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College walk-on Josh Thompson out there but he still has not been cleared medically.

Between defensive tackle and all the questions and competition at linebacker the defensive staff can't wait to get back to work as they have some solutions and answers to come up with.

Practices are closed but the spring game needs to be on your calendar – 2 p.m. Saturday, April 16. I honestly believe there will be a crowd of 30,000 or better at Boone Pickens Stadium and a spring game attendance record at Oklahoma State.

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