Spring Football: Starting Back On Monday

Spring break is nearly over and that means back to work for Oklahoma State's football team. The players and coaches took some time to get away from football during spring break. Head coach Mike Gundy decided with a shortage of healthy linebackers to postpone the planned practice on Friday before departing for spring break, and that practice will move to the end of the spring schedule on April 11.

Our guess is that Gundy will welcome the team back with an abbreviated practice Monday, abbreviated as in helmets and shoulder pads instead of full pads. The NCAA requires several of those and only allows 12 of the 15 practices to have contact in the spring, and only eight of those can be full contact practices with tackling.

The first check needs to be condition of the linebackers. Other than walk-on Dillon Rake, who suffered a leg injury that will keep him out of the rest of the spring, he others injured linebackers, including junior college newcomer Devante Averette, should be ready to practice.

The break for spring practice does not only aids those injured in the first week, and there weren't many, it also assists the younger players.

The redshirt freshmen now competing for spots on the depth chart and the brand new players like quarterback Mason Rudolph, running back Devon Thomas, tight end Jordan Frazier, and new speedster Tyreek Hill are given some extra time to digest what they've learned and how the Cowboys go about practice.

Hill also gets time to come down off a high that he had to experience with his sudden competition and success in indoor track. He can get into the football mindset.

The break likely helps the offensive line as they adapt to the different coaching style and some of the new schemes that recently added offensive line coach Bob Connelly uses and has inserted.

It is pretty simple what has to happen, and Oklahoma State fans will get a good indication of how well it is happening at the Orange Blitz open practice on Saturday, April 5. The younger players on this team need to become as proficient as they can at the physical and mental aspects required for success.

Quarterback is simple. The coaching staff needs to see how well J.W. Walsh, Daxx Garman and Mason Rudolph are progressing in their competition.

Running back, with Desmond Roland sitting out, is finding the best guys out there. Keep an eye on Thomas, the freshman from Broken Arrow, Okla., as he has shown up making some plays.

Wide receivers to watch are returner from injury Austin Hays, redshirt freshman Ra'Shaad Samples, and new speedster Tyreek Hill when he plays at the position.

On the offensive line, the staff needs to see redshirt freshman Zach Crabtree develop. The whole line needs to continue to improve with a lot of young guys in the two deep.

On the defensive line, everybody likes the talent and experience but redshirt freshman Vili Levini is a talent to watch develop.

Linebacker will be partially developed in the spring and some in the fall with the arrival D'Nerius Antoine from junior college and the young and talented freshmen.

Secondary has so many youngsters that this may be the most fun position to watch this spring. Jordan Sterns, Deric Robertson, Darius Curry, Tre Flowers and Jerel Morrow are all worth watching.

There are 12 more practices to go.

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