Spring Football: Rudolph Looking To Be Better

Mason Rudolph now has the quarterback job to himself, and the Oklahoma State junior is looking forward to improving this spring as the Cowboys prepare for the 2016 season.

It almost doesn't seem possible and you have to go back to that rainy night in Waco, Texas when Mason Rudolph had the red-shirt ripped off his body in a figurative way to reveal that the young man from Rock Hill, S.C., was more than ready to be a Division I college quarterback. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns in the rain and against a top-10 team.

Rudolph may have earned more respect from his teammates with a mistake. He threw his first interception and instead of fading into the turf, he charged downfield and plowed into the opposing player. Now as spring practice was already into it's third day Thursday, and the final practice before spring break (and the Cowboys next practice won't be until March 22), Rudolph was down encouraging his offensive teammates to get the most out of the non-contact practice, the third day in shorts, jerseys, and helmets.

He is the unquestioned leader on offense and one of the true leaders on this football team.

"He's always been a good leader," head coach Mike Gundy said when asked earlier this week. "He's a tough guy, and the players respect him for that reason. He just continues to develop. He'll take over out there, obviously, and I would think that the offense would rally around him at this point with the experience and the games that he's played up to this point in his career."

Rudolph grades himself in every area. With his friend and his co-quarterback last season in J.W. Walsh gone, Rudolph without making a big deal has prepared and kicked up his skills in that area.

"I went through all the games (video) and watched myself and then I met with all the coaches, coach (Rob) Glass, coach (Mike) Yurcich, and kind of set some goals," explained the 6-5, 235-pound quarterback. "With coach Glass I wanted to improve the strength and become a better leader and lead by example, whether it was in the weight room or on the field.

"Then there are a number of things that I can improve on with fundamentals and how I run the offense, how I see the field. This team has a lot of leaders. I am going to continue to do a good job of stepping in and being that voice. I think there's a lot of guys up here and a lot of guys down in that locker room that know how to lead by example, and know how to rally around this team and get them going. We won't miss a beat, and we'll keep working towards our goal."

Interestingly enough, Walsh's new supervisor was on campus today picking up his daughter from Oklahoma State. Doug Meacham touched base and said Walsh is doing really well. "J.W. is great," Meacham, TCU's offensive coordinator said. "You tell him what to do and he does it. He is quiet and just soaking it all up."

"Yeah, we stay in touch," Rudolph said of Walsh. "He's doing a great job down there, and he's enjoying it. He's moving on to the next chapter of his life."

Rudolph wouldn't say it last season but will admit it now. He looks forward to being the every down quarterback. Walsh would come in for short-yardage and goal-line situations, accounting for 767 yards of total offense and 26 touchdowns (13 rushing and 13 passing).

Rudolph is athletic enough to run. He believes he can be a weapon with the zone read and quarterback keep material in the playbook. Last season he accounted for 22 touchdowns, 21 passing, but he is eager to play that complete role.

"I feel great. I feel pretty close to 100 percent, if not 100 percent," Rudolph said speaking of the foot injury he had surgically addressed before the Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss. "I'll be full go today all of the spring. I'm excited to be out there, and I feel good. That's the most important thing. We've lifted plenty of weights and run plenty of gassers and now I'm ready to break out the footballs and play football again."

That rainy night in Waco doesn't seem that long ago but in the 15 games since then Rudolph has completed 61 percent of his 510 passes for 4,623 yards and 27 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. I'll predict that the percentage, yards, touchdowns all go up and that interception number will stay pretty close to where it is right now.

GoPokes Top Stories