Cowboys Back At It In Full Pads

STILLWATER, Okla. – The Oklahoma State football team held its first practice Tuesday since returning from spring break in Boone Pickens Stadium. The Cowboys took the field in cloudy and warm conditions dressed in full pads for the approximately two-hour session.

"I was impressed with their tempo," Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy said. "Sometimes, players don't practice very well when they come back from spring break, but I think it helped that we didn't practice yesterday. I wanted to see the intensity and we got it today, which is good and I think shows maturity."

A handful of players caught Gundy's eye with their performances Tuesday.

"David Paulsen is a guy that needs to step and take the spot of Bryant Ward. I think he played well today," Gundy said. "Hubert Anyiam made some plays. Defensively, Daytawion Lowe and LeRon Furr both made some plays. Those are some guys who stepped up today."

The Cowboys will be back at it for another practice session Wednesday.

With this being the start of the second week of spring football, and following a week of taking a step back for spring break, it is a good time to take a run through the depth chart and see what has and what could develop.

We will start out on offense and hit specialists. We'll go through the defense on Wednesday.

QUARTERBACK: Nothing going at the top here as Brandon Weeden is the unquestioned starter and has looked marvelous so far in practices. Weeden has that strong arm and his field awareness is great than ever.

Talking with former Oklahoma State head coach Pat Jones, who has also been an assistant in the NFL with Miami and Oakland, he agrees with me that Weeden could be a first-round draft pick and a starting quarterback in the NFL if his growth and development path as a quarterback continues at the same rate he has been on.

The battle for backup is a lot of fun as both Clint Chelf and Johnny Deaton have shown up well so far. There was only one full pad practice but in team periods and seven-on-seven new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Todd Monken has made sure both Chelf and Deaton get reps with the ones, twos, and threes personnel-wise.

Both are bigger and stronger physically and have thrown the ball well. Newcomer freshman J.W. Walsh is ahead of the curve for a freshman, but is behind the veterans as you would expect.

RUNNING BACK: New running backs coach Jemal Singleton has to be happy with the talent he inherited, but I'd bet he would like to have a few more guys in his group. They will be coming in freshmen Herschel Sims and Desmond Roland, II.

Joe Randle and Jeremy Smith look really good and have played well so far. Both guys have increased in the strength and speed area and both play with a lot more confidence. The fullback position is really fun to watch as David Paulsen can't wait to go blow up defenders, but Kye Staley is a great story with his newest comeback.

Staley brings more of an explosive ability in the run and pass game to the fullback position. After what I've seen I would bet on Staley helping out some as a changeup for the bigger and more pounding Paulsen.

RECEiVERS: We will lump them all together and there are a bunch of them with 26 on the roster. Take out Justin Blackmon, Josh Cooper and Michael Harrison and there is a lot of competition among the rest.

My special seven to watch are Hubert Anyiam (veteran with a ton of ability), Isaiah Anderson (the fastest of all), Tracy Moore (could be most physical), Justin Horton (one of the best athletes), Charlie Moore (just makes plays over and over), Colton Chelf (almost never drops a catchable pass), and Kevin Johnson (pup with the most promise).

Combine all the group with consistency and that is a pretty live group. There are unknowns among the walk-ons that can play. Keep an eye and an ear out for Elliott Jeffcoat and the smaller Nick Rockwell. Both can play as both are very athletic.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Joe Wickline's only problem will be keeping guys happy as Wickline has a lot of talent. He may have the most offensive line talent ever assembled at Oklahoma State at one time.

There isn't a Russell Okung, but at tackle, along with starters Levy Adcock (future NFL player) and Nick Martinez, there is junior college standout Michael Bowie, who has wasted little time in getting acclimated to OSU. Remember, Bowie came in and threatened to play as a freshman before classes started only to learn he had not passed the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Parker Graham is chomping at the bit and shows he is ready to play. Redshirt freshman Daniel Koenig may be very hard to keep out of the line-up. Koenig has made a lot of progress, physically and mentally, and it shows up on a daily basis in practice.

At guard, the starters are solid in Jonathan Rush and two-year starter Lane Taylor. Taylor is the youngest of the starters, but the most veteran. Both backups, Brandon Webb and Patrick Hoog, are good and eager to get on the field.

Two seniors are at center, including starter Grant Garner, who has developed a tremendous reputation of dependability and a great relationship with quarterback Brandon Weeden. Senior and former walk-on Casey LaBrue is a solid back-up here.

Young linemen like Jake Jenkins, Geron Anthony, Javius Townsend and Eli Dickerson are showing promise. The offensive line is really a solid group right now. If Wickline were a smiling kind of guy he would have an ear-to-ear grin.

SPECIALISTS: Quinn Sharp has looked good both punting and kicking off, but then again when has he not looked good at those two jobs. Sharp showed off his punting again Tuesday and had to be happy with the news from the NFL owner's meetings in New Orleans where the owners voted to move the kickoffs back up to the 35-yard line. Sharp is automatic from there.

While the Cowboys worked on punting and looked good at it, in warm-ups both Sharp and redshirt freshman Bobby Stonebreaker each missed a fied goal try. The first week they had been perfect. Chalk it up to a little spring break rust.

(Oklahoma State's athletic media relations contributed to this report.)

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