Oklahoma State went through a two hour and 20 minute practice on Monday to start the final week of spring football. The Cowboys have another practice on Wednesday and then will hold their annual spring game on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. in Boone Pickens Stadium. The practice on Monday was typical with some corrections from the scrimmage as they held a walk thru before practice. There was plenty of individual work followed by the linemen getting together for pass pro and then an inside drill while the skill players had seven-on-seven and one-on-one drills going. The practice concluded with a lengthy team period.
Head coach Mike Gundy said that the team will split up for the spring game after some discussion about just going with offensive units and defensive units combining, say the first team offense with the second team defense against the first team defense with the second team offense. The concern and it factors either way it that there are depth concerns at defensive end where both Vili Leveni and Tralund Webber will be missing, at center where only Brad Lundblade and Johnny Wilson are really able to handle that spot. Safety is another position that is on the thin side. Gundy's feeling is that the players and fans enjoy the game like situations and the feeling is they can split up and play at a tempo that will do a good job of simulating a game day in the fall.
"We want to put on a show and have the fans come out and enjoy what they see," Gundy said.
One position where there is no problem with depth is linebacker. The Cowboys have been able to get through the spring healthy and get a lot of playing time for some younger linebackers that even expands the depth. On Saturday fans may want to keep an eye out for three young linebackers in red-shirt freshman #11 Amen Ogbongbemiga out of Canada; another red-shirt freshman in #16 Devin Harper, who came in at about 215 pounds and is now 6-1, 240 pounds; and a more familiar name in sophomore Kevin Henry wearing #33.
"Those guys can really run," Gundy said. Now, I don't know if they know where they are going or what they are doing and how to get there. They can run fast and that is why we need to coach them up, those guys are Kevin and Devin and they are fast. They are going to be really fun over the next few years."
There are older and experienced linebackers in middle linebacker Chad Whitener and versatile Justin Phillips. Senior to be Gyasi Akem is back and out at the star position you have the trio of Kenneth Edison-McGruder, Kirk Tucker, and Calvin Bundage. There is also a junior college All-American in Patrick Macon that Gundy said is rounding or better said, thinning into form.
"He helps us. He is a guy that is just getting in shape right now," Gundy said of Macon, who was the NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year for National runner-up Arizona Western. "When he got in here he was a long way from being in shape to be competitive. Just in the last few practices has he been in the kind of shape where he can make plays. He is going to have to help us spell Chad (Whitener). The first practices (in spring) he wasn't a factor."
The linebackers should be fun to watch and you will see them all on Saturday.
You will see them wearing both black and orange jerseys. We forgot until we were reminded but Oklahoma State will be getting a new batch of white game jerseys from Nike. The Cowboys wore white in the Alamo Bowl win over Colorado and the players got to keep the bowl jerseys. Black and orange are the color game jerseys in stock. The team will wear white practice pants on Saturday and no word on the helmets, but my guess is white.
Former Cowboy and now Houston Texans quarterback Brandon Weeden was back to watch another practice as he and his agent took in the practice on Monday, Weeden has an event related to his annual golf tournament and his foundation on Tuesday at Top Golf in Oklahoma City.
Just one prospect on had at practice in Choctaw, Okla. 2019 running back J.D. Kolb. Kolb is a 5-9, 170 pound running back that as a sophomore last season carried 195 times for 954-yards with a 4.9 per carry average and nine touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 281-yards and four more touchdowns. On kickoff returns he averaged 37.8-yards a return. The interesting aspect is Kolb is heading to Reno, Nev., for his junior season as he will be at Robert McQueen High School next fall.