Mike Gundy and his staff, more than any camp in his nine years as head coach at OSU, controlled the information going in and out of camp. We use the comments from players and coaches and what went on the public record to review fall camp, particularly the defensive side and special teams.
All of the coaches and many of the teammates say that Barnett and Castleman really are stout and had a good camp even though Castleman had to build up some speed from a late season and spring nagging injury.
At times, Anthony Rogers and Davidell Collins have started. Now those two are backing up in the rotation, and that just shows how the position has improved depth-wise. Add in junior college transfer Ofa Hautau, who defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements has said will definitely help and is proving to be a tough guy to knock back.
Senior Tyler Johnson inspires confidence and is showing the ability and the leadership that the staff had hoped for since he arrived from playing minor league baseball. Gundy really was impressed with Sam Wren's development late in the spring as the Arizona Western J.C. standout hit his stride. That continued in fall camp.
Jimmy Bean had some little injury issues in camp but finished strong, according to Clements. That allowed young players like Trace Clark, Emmanuel Ogbah and Victor Irokansi to make some positive impressions. Taylor May has also shown up and may show up some on special teams.
It's not like the Cowboys are seeing All-Big 12 prospects at the defensive end position but it has solidified and the staff sees some depth there as well.
Caleb Lavey is in the best shape of his career and is like having a coach on the field. Ryan Simmons is extremely athletic and has a better working football knowledge than Alex Elkins did with his limited playing experience. The starting trio is really good.
The bonus is how well the backups are playing. Joe Mitchell at the "star" would be pressing to start if that guy named Lewis wasn't in front of him. Kris Catlin and Demarcus Sherod have really come along and are both playing well. Add to that crew redshirt freshman Seth Jacobs and there is some really good depth at linebacker.
The big addition has been former Kansas Jayhawks starter Tyler Patmon, who has come in and played really well. Patmon also was a nickel back for the Jayhawks, and that could come into play for the Cowboys. To have a solid foursome at corner is good, and having Miketavius Jones plus some talented freshmen means the depth could allow some redshirting to go on.
With Daytawion Lowe so experienced and talented, Johnson can learn that position for next season when Lowe is gone and still be plugged into different personnel groups on defense.
Zack Craig also lends plenty of experience. Deion Imade is now playing linebacker, so safety is also solid. There are some talented newcomers as well with freshmen Jordan Sterns and Deric Robertson showing up in camp the first time around.
Smith should be good on kickoffs. He is not a driver like Quinn Sharp, but instead he puts his kickoffs up in the air and gets some hang time and they tend to fall anywhere between the 5-ayrd line and the back of the end zone. He'll give the cover unit a chance to get down to make a play. That showed up in the spring game on the one live kickoff he kicked.
The first special teams decision made was freshman Ben Grogan being selected to handle field goal and extra points. Grogan is a guy that gets better every day. He also seems to have a very calm demeanor and that comes in handy.
Returns could be really exciting as Justin Gilbert is back. Josh Stewart wants to handle punt returns, and there are others like David Glidden and freshman receiver Ra'Shaad Samples who would like to get some opportunities with the return game.