First Day In Pads No Problem For Randle

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State wrapped up its first week of spring football with the celebration of wearing shoulder pads for the first time. In pads meant a change for among other positions the running backs, as there was a legit inside drill. The Cowboys went close to two and a half hours and now will break for spring break.

The next spring practice will be Monday, March 26. The Cowboys will have 12 more practices, including a final scrimmage on Saturday, April 21.

The leader of the running backs is Joseph Randle, who now is amazingly heading toward his junior season. It seems like he just arrived in Stillwater, but after rushing for 463 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman he added 1,248 yards and 24 touchdowns as a sophomore to become one of the most established returning running backs in college football.

Randle is not resting on his accomplishments.

"Everybody wants to be the guy, and I'm just going to keep doing what I did when I first came in to get the job," said Randle. "I'm going to keep earning my spot every day, and do the things I did in the beginning to be called the starting running back.

"I mean this spring I am going to work as hard I ever worked. I am not going to take any days off, just work as hard as I always have."

Running backs coach Jemal Singleton walked into a really good situation with not only Randle but also Jeremy Smith in the stable of running backs. With those two mature, responsible and talented backs, it makes Singleton's job easy. He can have high expectations for his players and know they will be hit.

"I'm looking for guys to make the most of their opportunity to get better every day and for us to finish the spring where we are in a much better position than we were in to start," said Singleton.

"I'd like to see guys get stronger and be more mentally aware with a sense of exactly what we're trying to get accomplished on every play – just being students of the game. I'd like to see the running backs get more football smart this spring."

Singleton understands that it is a special situation to have both these guys and to also have two other talented young backs in Herschel Sims, who really improved in the offseason, and Desmond Roland, who is also very talented.

But the leaders and top two names on the depth chart are obviously Randle and Smith.

"It's a pretty unique situation where we have two backs that are really polar opposites in a lot of their skill traits," explained Singleton of the two backs and what they bring to the offense. "I consider Joseph Randle as more of a slasher-type runner, even his body structure, he's a longer, leader-type of guy.

"Jeremy Smith is a more explosive type of back, especially in short-yardage situations. He's very quick with a low center of gravity. Joseph is definitely a threat as a receiver as well. Jeremy needs to work on his receiving skills more.

"They're very unique and a great change of pace in terms of some of the things that they're good at. With two guys like that, I really have a 1A and 1B. I've got two backs who if they were at different places, they'd probably be starters. We're lucky that we've got those two here."

On Monday, when Randle met with the media he showed that he is going to avoid politics. He said Wes Lunt, the Cowboys freshman quarterback, appears to be a hard worker but did not elaborate on the newcomer. He yielded to the coaches on the quarterback race, which is their call anyway.

One aspect he does come out and speak on, even though he realizes it is out of his control, is how he would love to carry the ball more. He claims he is not one to get tired.

"I felt great after last year. I felt I could have done it again, but I feel after this summer I am going to be bigger, faster and stronger than I have ever been," said Randle. "I wouldn't mind carrying it 30 times, 40 times.

"I don't care what they dial up, but that is the offensive coordinator that makes that decision and I just have to do what he calls for. Nothing I say is going to change his mind about how many times I get the ball. I've learned to keep my mouth shut about that kind of stuff."

Something that Randle isn't afraid to verbalize is his belief that the Cowboys can win every game. That feeling now permeates the program, and Randle combines his winning attitude with his desire to gain plenty of yards to make it happen.

So how many yards would Randle like to gain in his third season as a Cowboy?

"Enough to win any game that is on our schedule this year," answered the 6-1, 195-pound back. "There is not a game on the schedule that we can't win, so I will gain as many yards as it takes. I am ready for whatever I am asked to do."

He'll be asked to stay in good shape and make good decisions like all of his teammates will be asked throughout spring break, and then come back ready to work on March 26 through the rest of spring practice.

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