Spring Football Notes

As OSU's first spring practice got underway at Boone Pickens Stadium, the ESPN College GameDay crew for basketball was wrapping up its morning show outside the north end of Gallagher-Iba Arena. Chris Fowler, the one common denominator from the GameDay crew in football that was here for the Bedlam game this fall, took time to walk with OSU Athletic Director Harry Birdwell and Associate Athletic Director Steve Buzzard over to take a look at the first spring practice.

Fowler was asked by Go Pokes to give his opinion of the future of OSU football and athletics. He quickly noted a point in OSU's favor was that it was the only school that ESPN visited with both their football and basketball GameDay shows.

"He's exciting," Fowler said of talking to Gundy. "It's obvious he is a good fit and he has a vision and brings a lot of energy to the program. Next season they will be something of a mystery with a new offense and probably a new quarterback. You won't be able to tell much about them early with the schedule, but it is a schedule that they can into with that new offense. I am anxious to see how they do against Colorado and Texas and teams like that.

"You look around and they certainly have athletic ability and Reid is a good looking player. They still don't have the look of a USC or even an OU on the hoof, but there is more to it than that. They aren't a program built solely on blue chippers, but again, there is more to it than that. I'm anxious to see how they do next season."

Fowler then used the visit to OSU and its purpose for ESPN to also compliment Oklahoma State athletics as a whole.

"This was a great visit for us to launch ESPN-U as a new network," explained the ESPN veteran. "This school has one of the best all-around athletic programs in the country. What other place can the fans come out and watch the first day of spring football for a rock solid football program and then go inside and enjoy senior night for a Top-10 basketball program. It's great for the OSU fans. There's a reason, and it's obvious, why we hit Oklahoma State with GameDay in both seasons."


The Cowboys' first practice was in shorts and helmets with no contact, but there was still one major collision. Oklahoma State golf coach and interested football observer Mike Holder was standing on the sidelines as the quarterbacks and wide receivers were working on a pass-and-catch drill running fade routes. Kenneth Williams, the Cowboys' tallest receiver, was running down the sideline and ran under the ball and made the catch right on the line and then his momentum pulled him out of bounds where he collided hard with Holder. Both went tumbling down with Holder going several feet into the base of the wall.

Williams jumped up and helped Holder up apologizing the entire time, while Holder shook it off and laughed. There is no doubt the slidelines are a little more dangerous than the golf course. However, one of the keys is still judging the flight path of the ball.


The practice started with work on special teams, but special teams coordinator Joe DeForest is missing some of his key performers from a year ago in punter/kickoff specialist Cole Farden and deep snapper Jacob Dressen. Field goal and extra points kicker Jason Ricks returns and he was solid in those situations at the opening of practice. Ricks is joined in kicking and punting by a variety of walk-ons including veteran and backup kicker Luke Roberts, newcomer from Woodward Bruce Ridden, freshman from Tulsa Washington Kirk Jones, and a transfer from NEO J.C.
Linebacker Brian Jeffries and tight end Justin Waller are helping out with the snapping chores. The first day revealed some rust, particularly with the punting, both snaps and kicks. However, DeForest has some help coming in the fall with the new recruiting class.


Unfortunately, there are plenty of players who are limited in their participation this spring as they rehab from injuries from last season or from offseason surgery. A couple of players held out today that should be back quickly were safety/cornerback Jamie Thompson (leg) and linebacker Paul Duren (ankle). Among the long term absentees are defensive end Nathan Peterson (knee), defensive end Darnell Smith (shoulder), defensive end Marque Fountain (shoulder), defensive end Trumain Carroll (leg), defensive end William Bell (knee), running back Seymore Shaw (knee), wide receiver Chijuan Mack (knee), wide receiver Sir Lawrence Davis (knee), and tight end Tremayne Standberry (unknown).

Gundy recognizes that many of those players will fill key roles next season and said they are all being included in much of the mental preparation during the spring in the meeting room and during practice.
"They are learning and coach (Rob) Glass is doing a good job of keeping those guys in shape," said Gundy of the injured. "They are very involved in the learning, at certain times during practice and during the meetings. Those are things that we discussed as a staff that when the players are healthy that they will be ready to compete for a job."

There were 23 high school and junior college prospects in the stands at Boone Pickens Stadium for the Cowboys' first spring practice. The players were there as part of the Junior Day activities which later included a tour of the facilities, dinner with the coaching staff and with attending Saturday night's OSU-Texas basketball game.
The headliner of the early arrivals was linebacker Anthony Lewis from Haltom, Texas. We will post a more complete list with more information on the prospects attending Junior Day tonight after the basketball game.

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