With the Spring Game upon us, football is finally back in town. Sure, there have been quite a few spring practices and a number of scrimmages, but nothing for the public to witness. No cracking of shoulder pads or calling of cadences. No long runs or leaping grabs. But all that changes tomorrow at 1 pm.
The boys will be back in uniform in Boone Pickens Stadium, albeit going up against one another, and fans will get their first taste of what this spring has brought in terms of improvement. With the rosters being released earlier today, it’s fun to go through and see what some of the key matchups will be. Now, you won’t be seeing a lot of Mason Rudolph or any of the other projected starters much past the third or fourth series. But it’s still going to be a lot of fun to see Jeff Carr go up against Kenneth Edison-McGruder or Tyron Johnson against Madre Harper.
Robert Allen, on his radio show, spoke with Coach Gundy this morning about some of the logistics to the game tomorrow. "We're going to run 10 minute quarters and try to get about 70 plays in, 35 plays for each offense.” said head coach Mike Gundy, “In some positions we are just one deep. When you're at this point in the spring, 14 practices in, you don't want to put guys out there and make them really vulnerable. We're going to put on a really good show for the fans. Young players, there will be some players that they have never seen before. Mason (Rudolph) will get a couple of series and so forth, but the majority of the scrimmage will be those middle of the pack guys that we expect to have some competition with each other and that the fans haven't seen much of.".
And with a majority of the reps going to guys that haven’t got a lot of playing time, I’d like to take this time to point out a few of the guys that you should be watching out for.
Keondre Wudtee: With Rudolph being a senior this upcoming season, there’s been a lot of speculation on who the backup might be. Now, I’m not saying that it should be Wudtee, but everything that I’ve heard and seen about him this spring has been impressive. He came into his freshman year with a cannon for an arm, but not a lot of control deep down the field. It appears that he has definitely gained some down field control, and the kid can run like the wind. So after a solid redshirt year on the scout team gaining valuable experience, and a great spring, expect Wudtee to get some productive on-field time this season.
Madre Harper: A sophomore with a ton of upside. He saw significant action this past season on special teams in 12 games totaling eight tackles including three against a great Colorado offense in the Alamo Bowl, and a recovering a touchdown in the end zone in the game against Southeastern Louisiana in his first career game. Harper may be young, but he’s had an excellent spring and with the shift of Ramon Richards to safety, Harper stands to see some very valuable time this fall.
Tyron Johnson: Among the horde of incredibly talented receivers that Oklahoma State has, I don’t think there’s one whose first performance has been more anticipated by fans. The highly touted 2015 four-star prospect (Scout) transferred to Oklahoma State last preseason and due to NCAA transfer rules, sat out the 2016 season and will still have three years of eligibility including this year. Johnson recorded 3,022 yards and 34 touchdowns during his junior and senior year of high school, and has had an outstanding spring camp.
"We will do a good job for the fans.” Stated head coach Mike Gundy, “We will be a little limited in what we can do, but they will get to see the players, the people they want to see. They will get to see the players close up afterwards. We have had a terrific spring and have had some players banged up just a little bit and will be out for a couple of weeks, so for that reason we don't put them out there in the spring game. We've had long practices and got a lot of work in during the spring.".