Spring Football: OSU Concludes With Scrimmage

STILLWATER - Spring football for Oklahoma State in 2014, a critical year that will see the Cowboys transition from a 28-member senior class that was as accomplished as any in school history to a group that includes a lot of young, inexperienced but talented players, concluded on Friday afternoon with the fourth practice of the week, and included a lot of scrimmage time.

This was a full scrimmage and head coach Mike Gundy said before the practice that he thought this might have been the most stressful week he had ever put on one of his teams. Gundy estimated his team scrimmaged close to 300 plays for the week.

"We had a really good practice today, a good finish," Gundy said. "We had an about 80-play scrimmage. We pushed our players more this spring – this week – than we have since I've been the head coach here.

"From a scrimmage standpoint, we're so young that we needed enough work. We said they don't have enough days to get these guys ready, but their effort was good. I asked them to max themselves out today, because obviously there is no tomorrow.

"We're healthy, and the defense made plays. The offense made plays. Tyreek (Hill) made a few plays. Kevin Peterson and (Ashton) Lampkin made a few plays. It was really a good spring and a good practice today."

One of the offensive leaders, Jhajuan Seales, who caught a long touchdown pass from Mason Rudolph in the scrimmage, had a good day. He felt the players did exactly what Gundy asked in giving him maximum effort on the final day of the spring.

"After 15 practices, it felt like it was the first day," Seales said after completing for him what was a strong spring to follow a strong season last fall that included 39 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns. "We were out there moving, really flying and moving around."

Seales had a good final day as did a number of receivers. Players reported that besides Seales, Brandon Sheperd and C.J. Curry also made big catches that either went for touchdowns or led to scores.

Quarterback J.W. Walsh threw the ball well and ran well, but the electric runs of the day were from the speedy Tyreek Hill. Hill is also set to pick back up with track and run sprints during the outdoor season for the Cowboys.

Hill caught the attention of many of the former OSU players that were on hand for the scrimmage after holding their annual spring golf tournament. Those former players were buzzing when Hill touched the ball.

Gundy had said he wanted to learn how close Hill was to being a football player capable of success at the Division I level. Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich was looking to learn about Hill as well.

So how much was discovered about the slash type player out from Garden City (Kan.) Community College?

"Quite a bit. He's really nice to be around," Yurcich said with a big grin. "He really wants to do well in the film room. He works really hard when he hits the field, so he has those intangibles.

"He has, obviously, that God-given speed that we all see, but he also has a hunger deep inside. You don't know about that until you get to know somebody and get around them and get 15 practices in. It's good to see his hunger and drive inside."

Gundy's grading scale seemed to be a little more strict.

"He's about halfway," Gundy said of where Hill is compared to where the head coach expects him to need to be. "To play at a high level in this league and compete for us in the tempo and style of our offense, if we're going to throw it to him, hand it to him or whatever we decide to do in the fall.

"He made strides. He was with us about 75 percent of the time, you know he was running track for a little while. He's made some strides, but he has a long way to go."

Gundy seemed pleased with the team overall, and he was particularly happy with the receivers.

"I think we have more numbers and experience. We have quality young people we're developing," Gundy said. "We're certainly going to miss Tracy (Moore) and Charlie (Moore), but we have some young players.

"In fact, several of them weren't even with us in the last four or five practices this spring. Just little injuries, they'll be back with us in a week or two. I think from a numbers standpoint, by the middle of the season we can be better as a unit."

The defense had its moments as well. The defensive line continued to be a strong force for the younger offensive line to deal with. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said a lot was accomplished, but he wasn't happy.

This signals a break between practice 15 and what Spencer referred to as practice 16 when fall camp begins in August. It sure sounds like some of the offensive players look at the end of spring in a similar fashion.

"I'm kind of excited and kind of sad at the same time to see that spring is over," Seales added. "We don't get to come out here and compete with our brothers every single day, but I'm also kind of excited we get to get our legs back."

The Cowboys get a few weeks off before summer conditioning begins with Friday morning stadium steps, and the countdown will begin to practice in August and the first game of the season against defending national champion Florida State.

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