Looking for a Youth Movement during Oklahoma State spring football, well, the secondary certainly qualifies as a lot of younger players, even a new freshman on campus will get reps and opportunities. There is a lot of moving around in the secondary as you will read here.
As spring football begins on Monday, March 6, the Cowboys building of the secondary for the 2017 season will continue over the weekend before when they host Clemson fifth-year graduate transfer cornerback Adrian Baker for an official visit. We have learned that Baker has a long list of suitors in the process with visits to Iowa State (March 10), Wake Forest (March 17), and Arizona State (March 30) also planned. The Cowboys will hope that their impressive facilities and better expectations for the 2017 season, Baker’s one and only left to play, will win out and maybe cause him to commit and cancel any scheduled visits. Baker is just part of the process for building a winning secondary on a defense that returns talent but could be pretty youthful in the secondary.
Gone is safety Jordan Sterns, a big-time leader and playmaker on the defense. Tre’ Flowers is back at safety and the 6-3, 200 pound Flowers is both veteran and talented. Now, there will also be some changes in the back end of the defense.
“Spring is exciting because you can kind of experiment with a few things,” defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “I have to challenge the staff to challenge these guys and get up in their grill, you know, coach them hard, love ‘em up hard, and get them ready to make a run at this thing next year. It’s all about winning a championship, that’s all I’m concerned with. Anything else is pretty irrelevant to me.”
That is what Oklahoma State football fans want to hear and while they may question some moves, you just read Spencer’s motives. Ramon Richards was a starting corner much of the season, but he played equally at safety and as the nickel back, which is used often in the Cowboys defense and against spread offenses in the Big 12. Richards on tape is more productive and seemingly more comfortable at safety, so look to see him there a lot. Now with Richards and Ashton Lampkin and Lenzy Pipkins, all three of the top corners last season no longer there. What the heck is going to happen at corner? That is going to be a major focus in the spring for Spencer, corners coach Tim Duffie and expect safeties coach Dan Hammerschmidt to help with solutions as well. You may see the head coach over there checking out the scenarios.
A.J. Green played last season as a true freshman and he shows promise of being a really good answer at the corner. He is 6-1 and a solid 180 pounds and has not just the physical talent, but the mental approach to be good on the corner. Darius Curry is back and against bigger receivers and playing more to the boundary and the short side of the field, Curry is a possible answer. He’ll have a place in the rotation somewhere. Rodarius Williams has been mentioned as a promising prospect to play soon. He also has good size and is eager to get after it. Madre Harper, who also played some as a freshman, and junior college product Malik Kearse are in the mix and will get solid looks.
True freshman LaMarcus Morton of Gilmer reported early and you can expect to see him get opportunity to play some as well. Morton comes from an excellent high school program and he has size and rates high in ability. I want to see some of walk-on Javarus Blair out of Lexington, Kentucky. He is a pretty good athlete with size.
You can see with all the youth in the secondary that getting Baker would really be an assist.
At safety, remember that Kenneth Edison-McGruder is moving down to play the star-linebacker so behind Flowers and Richards, expect to see more of special teams stalwart Jerel Morrow, Za’Carrius Green, and walk-on Chance Cook, who played as a freshman on special teams last season.
“We have a couple of young guys in the secondary that we think could be really good players. They are going to get their chance in the spring to do that,” Spencer added in what would amount at this point to an understatement.
Secondary will be well worth the watch all spring.