Spring Football: Notes & Quotes

James Aldridge, the standout running back from Merrillville, Ind., was scheduled to arrive Wednesday night. Originally we had reported that he would be on the OSU campus all day Wednesday. But it will be Thursday that he and his parents will tour the campus, the athletic facilities and meet with OSU coaches and officials.

The standout 6-1, 217-pound running back is considered one of the top prospects in the Midwest. He gained more than 2,000 yards last season and scored 20 touchdowns. He lists Oklahoma State as his leader, but he will also visit Notre Dame, Ohio State and Iowa during this month as he works toward making a decision this summer. All of Aldridge's April campus visits will be unofficial.

By far the craziest play of the scrimmage work on Wednesday came early as quarterback Donovan Woods handed the ball off to Mike Hamilton. Hamilton plowed into the right side of the line for a four-yard gain only to have the ball poked loose as he was going down at the 34-yard line. The ball bounced backwards and was scooped up by safety Thomas Wright who took off for the goal line. He made it 24 yards down to the five where he lost the ball as he was going down. Fullback John Johnson and offensive guard Corey Hilliard both dove on the turf scrambling for the ball with Johnson making the recovery. Lots of action with the final result being a 29-yard loss for the offense.

There were plenty of visitors at the Cowboys' Wednesday practice as we counted no fewer than 17 coaches in attendance. Most of the coaches were from high schools, but the entire University of Central Oklahoma staff was there including head coach Chuck Langston. Langston was very complimentary of what he saw.

"Mike hired a great staff," said the Bronchos head coach and former OU linemen. "You can really tell they know what they are doing. I'm familiar with a lot of these guys including Larry Fedora and Joe Wickline. When I was at Trinity Valley Junior College they used to come by and recruit there when they were at Baylor. They have some impressive athletes and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next season."

We reported on Monday that Oklahoma State will do plenty of field work to Boone Pickens Stadium after the completion of spring practice. The Astroplay surface will be pulled up. The floor of the stadium will be stabilized, have the crown of the field removed, get a new drainage system, and add a new synthetic playing surface that is state-of-the-art. We have also learned, and know it is important to many of you, that the markings on the new turf will be different. Head coach Mike Gundy wants the brand logo at the 50-yard line with a Big 12 logo above it and Boone Pickens Stadium spelled out underneath the logo. The end zones will feature Oklahoma in smaller letters with State below it in larger letters.

For the most part it was the same players that have missed all of spring that were held out of Wednesday's practice and drilled with Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Rob Glass in the southwest corner of the stadium. Fullback Shawn Willis was back in action. Offensive guard David Koenig suited up, but was held out of scrimmage work. Wide receivers Seth Newton (hamstring) and Tevin Williams (ankle) were also held out of scrimmage work but both should return for Saturday.

Glass said the new workload for injured and rehab players has gone well all spring.

"We just try when somebody has had an injury, and they are going to be on the shelf for awhile, we are trying to keep the conditioning level up," said Glass. "Whether it's for a practice or two or the entire spring we are trying to keep everybody involved."

Players have said the workouts with Glass are actually harder than the regular practice workload and it's served as a promoter of good health within the squad.

"That's part of it," said Glass. "There is a little of the psychological aspect involved."

Linebacker Lawrence Pinson, who is having a great spring, was helped off the field with a right ankle sprain during Wednesday's practice. Pinson said he plans on being ready for Saturday's final spring scrimmage.

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