STILLWATER – Oklahoma State went through another two and a half hour practice on Wednesday afternoon in the Sherman Smith Indoor Training Center and adjacent outdoor turf field. The emphasis was on younger players for much of the team period, and at the end they began running the back-up quarterbacks more with the first unit as well as the second unit, Mike Gundy said. They also infused a lot of youth into the offense and defense throughout the practice.
Some players of note in the practice included running back Chris Carson, who while not a younger player he did have a good day carrying the ball and drew some post practice compliments from the head coach. Carson broke off several medium to medium long runs during the practice.
Cornerback Ramon Richards, who had a strong scrimmage last Friday, had another good practice, the 11th practice of the 15 allowed for the spring. Richards was the player that Gundy selected to speak with the team after the workout was concluded.
Another defender that played well and is rapidly adjusting to a new position is Kenneth Edison-McGruder, who is now playing the "star" linebacker hybrid position. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer mentioned he is coming along well at that spot, and had an interception during the practice.
Like Gundy, Spencer is also high on Richards at cornerback, calling him one of the best attitude players day in and day out this spring.
"He is hungry and has a great attitude," Spencer said. "He spoke to the team after practice today and talked to them about having a good attitude and having a lot of confidence. He has had a terrific spring. I really believe that."
Gundy didn't want to sound that way but when you get to this point in spring it does seem to come off as the same routine each day.
"It really hasn't changed. We're going to run the same practice that we had on (last) Friday (for the scrimmage this Friday)," Gundy explained. "We've had very competitive practices that have been long and physical. The young players have made some plays, but it's really just another day of spring ball.
"We started working the two young quarterbacks with the ones and let [Mason] Rudolph have a break. [Chris] Carson is improved. Watching him today, he has solidified himself as an improved back from last year, so I'm happy with the direction that he is going. We've got a long ways to go, but the little things, like body language, attitudes and allowing themselves to be coached, has been excellent."
It is kind of important at this point that even though there are some injuries that you start sizing up depth, the areas where you are really deep and the ones where you need help like avoiding injuries and seeing some players develop before the start of next season.
On the defensive side, tackle Vili Levini is not participating in contact, neither is middle linebacker Chad Whitener. Star linebacker Jordan Burton is out. Cornerback Ashton Lampkin is banged up.
"We're not going to be as deep in the secondary as we were last year and certainly not going to be as deep in the defensive line," Gundy started his analysis. "We should hopefully be deeper on the offensive line. Receivers should be OK and the running backs should be OK, so those positions were a concern, but the others will be what we've been the last few seasons."
Again, the Cowboys are back at it on Friday with another scrimmage, likely to be right around 100 plays with an emphasis on trying to stay healthy.
Spring Game Format
We now know that the spring game on Saturday, April 16, will begin at 1 p.m. with the gates opening at noon and fans will only be sitting on the south side of Boone Pickens Stadium. No suites or club seating for the game and concessions will only be open on the south side.
Now, as for what the fans will see. That could very well depend on how healthy the Cowboys remain the rest of spring practice leading up to next Saturday and whether a few banged up players get back to practice.
So has Mike Gundy decided for sure what the format will be?
"Not really. It'll be based on our health," the head coach answered. "If you lose a couple of guys with tweaked ankles or hamstrings, you're somewhat limited in what you can do in a game atmosphere. We want to do the best we can do to put on a show for our fans.
"I would love to split teams and have a game but if we don't feel like we have enough to be able do that and play a good game then we'll come up with some other format. But our goal is to get the players on the field with the fans for 30 minutes before the game and then have a good hour and a half of a football atmosphere. Hopefully it'll be a game, but at least enough of a scrimmage that the fans will leave and feel like they've gotten a good feel for Oklahoma State football for this fall."
More Recruits in the House
There were several recruits visiting and watching practice on Wednesday. One of the most underrated prospects in Oklahoma is Norman North linebacker Cade Mashburn. The 6-2, 210-pound Mashburn was at Wednesday's practice with his dad, Greg. Cade, who also has a younger brother that is a future prospect, had 174 tackles last season and 103 unassisted. He is a ferocious defender with a thirst to make the play. He also had a sack, an interception, and a fumble forced. He was at OSU's junior day and has shown interest. Interest in him is starting to pick up and should.
Daunte McGee is an outside linebacker from Yukon and the 6-4, 200-pound McGee is a good looking athlete. He was there at the practice with his dad and younger brother.
Everett @Hunter is a 6-4, 220-pound tight end/kicker from Newcastle. Hunter is really more of a kicking prospect and Oklahoma State could be in the market for one as Ben Grogan is heading into his senior season.
Finally, Tyler Carr is a tight end from Canadian, Texas. The 6-6, 245-pound Carr is another under the radar prospect that is short on experience but long on potential. He has not played much, but has shown his athletic ability on the basketball court. He can run a 4.87 in the 40-yard dash and has a 325-pound max on the bench press and a 475-pound max on the squat.