Pokes Tune Up For Saturday

STILLWATER - Mike Gundy and the Oklahoma State staff are not wasting any opportunities to continue evaluating their team with the 15 available dates in the spring. Wednesday afternoon they used the 14th practice as another full scrimmage after announcing they will go with a game formula for the Spring Football Finale on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Boone Pickens Stadium.

The squad was on Boone Pickens on Wednesday for the scrimmage that ran for right at two hours and consisted of about 110 plays.

"I thought today was really good," said Gundy discussing the scrimmage. "Probably as equal a competition as we've had; good plays on both sides of the ball. I thought our effort (and) attitude were good. Tempo was really good. I was pleasantly surprised by what will be our last real practice before the spring game."

The highlight of the scrimmage, which at one point really focused on red zone and goal-line work, was the running game with Joe Randle, Jeremy Smith and Herschel Sims all contributing some good plays.

The pass rush and the defensive line played well with several different defensive linemen getting in the backfield for sacks. Ryan Robinson, Nigel Nicholas, Davidell Collins and Christian Littlehead all made plays. Being a Wednesday, Cooper Bassett had class so he wasn't available.

The three quarterbacks were fairly even on the day, according to Gundy, who still looks to name a starter at the position sometime in the week to 10 days following Saturday's spring finish.

"You know, I wanted to do it 9-10 practices into the spring, but we didn't feel like we could do it then," explained Gundy. "I don't think we're in a position to name a guy (as the starter), but I feel like we'll be in a position to name one after the spring game. Maybe not right after the game, but I would like to stay with what my goal was – to name one within maybe a week."

Gundy is determined to get that done.

"Unless somebody talks me out of it, we want to name a quarterback going into the summer," said the head coach. "I want to go in and see what Todd (Monken) and the offensive staff have to say.

"We haven't talked about the quarterbacks, so I want to hear what they have to say, and then tell them my thoughts and then we'll need to come together on it. I don't want to influence them because I want to hear what they say. We all have been watching. I think playing all three equally this spring was the right way to do it. In this offense you are better when you get more comfortable (more reps). We had to do it this way. It was the right way."

Gundy also said he was happy with using the "thud" scrimmage philosophy again this spring. Asked about scrimmaging as often as he has this spring, the most in any spring as a head coach, he said that when you don't go to the ground that as a head coach you feel better about your opportunity to stay healthy.

He pointed out that cornerback Andrae May hurt his knee in a half-speed drill and that slot receiver David Glidden's high ankle sprain earlier this week was the only significant injury of the spring.

"It's a big concern because you are not getting ready to play anybody in the spring and you don't want to lose anybody for next season," added Gundy. "It (thud) allows us to get more scrimmage plays. I can't ever see myself going back and scrimmaging (with full-fledged tackling). You never say never, but I'm happy with the way things are going right now."

The format for Saturday's spring game will be one that sends "good on good" as coaches would call it -- the first team offense will go against the first team defense and the second team offense will go against the second team defense.

That means that the top offense and second defense will form the nucleus of one team and the first team defense and second team offense will be the foundation of the other squad.

All three of the quarterbacks competing for the starting job, Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh, and freshman Will Lunt will play consecutive series, one for the first team offense and the other for the second offense. The three quarterbacks will wear a different uniform combination to identify them.

The rest of the players on the squad will provide depth and will be ready to play for both teams. The coaching staff will split up. However, offensive coordinator Todd Monken will call plays for both sides. The players will wear game uniforms, one of the 48 combinations and maybe some we did not see last season. The full format will be released Thursday.

"This has always been a chance for the fans to come see the players," said Gundy. "Most of our work is done. Saturday, you can expect 75 plays. We'll compete. We want to compete. You just don't have as many plays as you usually have because your teams are split up. You're a little bit extended from a depth standpoint."

Tickets for the game are available at the Oklahoma State ticket office for $5. Ticket windows will open at 11 a.m. Saturday and the stadium gates will open at noon for the 12:30 p.m. start.

GoPokes Top Stories