Cowboys Football: Final Week Of The Offseason

This is the final week of the offseason conditioning program for Oklahoma State Cowboys football. In fact, Team Seales and Team Walsh battled Tuesday afternoon for the championship of Competition Day.

That is always a fun event with the team of 10 to 12 players battling in the various events including tug-of-war, sled pull, tractor tire flip, obstacle course and more. It is this offseason period annually that has become the staple and the foundation for getting Oklahoma State football ready for the success they have enjoyed.

"We're having a great winter conditioning and offseason, our team with coach (Rob) Glass. Each week we've had speed development, we have stations with team building concepts, Thursday afternoons we have a real grueling workout where we test the character of our players character and leadership development, we have stadiums (steps) on Fridays," head coach Mike Gundy explained.

"Our coaches are in their meeting rooms getting ready for spring ball and practice phases are completed, all the things that we feel we need to improve on in the spring."

There is a lot to get ready for this spring. Whether Gundy enjoys it or discusses it much there is a competition at quarterback as J.W. Walsh returns, Daxx Garman has to be feeling pretty desperate to make some inroads on playing some, and newly recruited and highly touted Mason Rudolph didn't show up this semester to watch. He came in with designs on winning the job and he has loads of talent.

The offensive line will be a major overhaul area with new assistant Bob Connelly having the task of converting a bunch of inexperienced young linemen into blockers ready to attack and protect against Florida State in August.

"I'm real excited because he has a wealth of experience and a lot of it with spread, uptempo offenses," Gundy said. "He knows exactly how I want to block the run in our offense and he has already put it up on the board in our meetings.

"He's had experience with those things in the run/pass mode that we want to do in our offense. I think he is going to be a really good hire for us and he is a high energy guy."

Connelly is not the only change. There are all kinds of changes in both the players and coaches.

Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and his staff lose veteran running back Jeremy Smith and will have returning starter Desmond Roland sitting out the spring. The wide receiver position has a lot of returning players but loses some leadership in the likes of Tracy Moore and Charlie Moore and inside receiver Josh Stewart.

On defense, coordinator Glenn Spencer and his staff will see plenty of veterans up front but a lot of competitive battles in replacing linebackers and safeties.

"We're a real young football team now with 28 departing seniors, so we want to make sure we get back in the flow of being good at the basic fundamentals in offense and defense," Gundy said. "We have a new special teams coach in Robby Discher here. Coach (Ty) Linder's time expired being a graduate assistant and he had to move on. There are a lot of areas that we need to improve on."

Special teams is a whole other subject as improvement needs to be shown in young kicker Ben Grogan and more consistency from punter Kip Smith. Both veteran deep snappers have left leaving Kaleb Smith to do the job on both punts and placements.

There are plenty of questions and with 15 practices coming up a quest for some answers this spring. Oklahoma State fans will see for themselves on Saturday, April 5, at 1:30 p.m. with the Orange Blitz. Fans will have the opportunity to view a spring practice and spend time with the players and coaches afterwards.

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