Spring Practice: Receivers Making Strides

Friday's practice in Stillwater was a repeat of Wednesday as Oklahoma State went through a fairly physical two-hour practice. It's not always that way but the receivers and the veteran corners have been very physical on the edge according to everyone from head coach Mike Gundy to the players on either side of the ball.

"Off the field we get along really good, but on the field in practice we kind of get on each other's nerves and we are very physical out there," cornerback Kevin Peterson said. "I don't know if they are fights, but I'd say we get into each other pretty good and then after practice it's back to being friends. It's very competitive."

Receivers coach Kasey Dunn, who now has both the wide receivers and the inside and slot receivers under his guidance, seemed to like what he saw on Friday and has liked what he has seen so far through the spring.

"It was good. There are a lot of things that we still need to work on and improve, but for the most part everybody is playing hard, fast and competing," Dunn said. "It's really a competitive practice because of all the corners and DBs that we have that make it interesting and difficult on the wide outs, so it's fun."

"It's going pretty good," wide receiver Brandon Sheperd added. "When the pads come on that's when it gets fun. Everybody is just flying around, having fun and excited, and just happy to be out there. So it's been a pretty fun time the last two weeks really."

The receiver corps is really mixed in age, experience, and sizes. In fact, Sheperd has said he is adjusting after putting on some weight and getting bigger and more physical going into this season.

Dunn explained the group is moving forward and has a lot of leaders, even a young player like James Washington, who accomplished a year ago as a freshman, is showing a lot of leadership.

"I think everybody is stepping forward and making more plays," Dunn said. "Last year we really wanted Jhajuan (Seales) to grab more than what he did and I think he's seeing that now. He had kind of that sophomore slump. He understands that and he's coming back. He's bounced back. I expect really good things out of him. He's playing very well right now in spring ball.

"James Washington hasn't missed a beat, so he's continuing to play well. I'll tell you another one that really has jumped up and started to play well is Marcell. Marcell Ateman has stepped forward this spring as well, so right now we're really happy with our receiving corps."

Dunn added that another emphasis for the spring is blocking. Kameron Doolittle and C.J. Curry are receivers that have some notoriety as blockers. It's a matter of getting everybody as good as they can be in all areas.

"It's always one of those things where everybody likes to catch the ball and everybody wants to score touchdowns, so as a receiver coach you always focus on blocking," Dunn said. "That's the one thing they don't want to do, so if we have any one goal or objective that would be it, just to make sure that we're better blockers on the perimeter for our running backs."

The Cowboys are six practices in now with nine more to go. The schedule for next week is supposed to be the norm with practices scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The spring coach's clinic is scheduled for next Friday and the Cowboys are still several weeks away from the Orange Blitz Spring Game on Saturday, April 18.


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