Spring Football: Burton, Fountain Get Chances

STILLWATER – Wednesday was a heavy learning day for the Oklahoma State Cowboys on both sides of the ball. The offense installed more packages, including the reverse actions and more short and medium ranged passing game including a lot of passing plays and options to the backs in the backfield. The team periods were shorter with more emphasis on group work during practice.

"It was good work today," said head coach Mike Gundy of the nearly two-hour, 45-minute practice. "The defense moved around well and offensively we put in a considerable amount of plays that we didn't have in the first few practices so there were some guys making some mistakes out here. I want the offensive line and the quarterbacks to get on the same page with the snap count. We have some freshmen linemen in there that are jumping around a little bit that we have to get worked out.

"One thing that I said to the team after practice was that there are going to be some mistakes made in spring football, especially when you have freshmen playing and that's what spring is for. That's why you put it all in. We just want them to make mistakes full speed, (have) guys playing hard. I think we have that right now. Defense is moving around and offense is chasing the ball, so I'm pleased with that. We have a long way to go."

At one point early in practice with the quarterbacks working on throwing to the backs offensive coordinator Larry Fedora yelled, "That a way to work Burton."

Burton is former Enid All-State performer Jeremiah Burton. The 6-2, 230-pounder came to Oklahoma State as a walk-on and made an immediate impression. The first game of his freshman season he was suited up on the road and playing on special teams against UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, his freshman experience was short lived as he tore up his knee in that opening game and missed the rest of the season. He came back the next season as a backup linebacker and played on special teams and a few snaps at linebacker with one unassisted tackle. Now in his quest to earn playing time he may have a real chance at fullback.

"Fullback is new for me, but I am trying to learn as much as I can so I can help the team," said Burton. "I love to play football, and being on the field. Playing is fun to me."

Burton, who is still classified as a walk-on, learned about the switch three weeks before the start of spring drills and said he did everything he could to prepare himself.

"John Johnson (starting fullback) got me in there and we started watching some film," explained Burton. "I tried to learn as many of the plays as I could before spring started so I could come out here and compete."

During Wednesday's team period he never had a chance to catch a pass, but the cut and bruise across the bridge of his nose showed that he got in a few blocks. Burton will continue to help on special teams, but with just one scholarship fullback on the roster in John Johnson, Burton has a chance to be more this upcoming season and he isn't wasting the chance.

Some of the highlights from Wednesday's practice included linebacker Chris Collins putting on a dominating exhibition in the inside drill. The drill features the offense minus wide receivers going full speed against the defensive front seven and safeties. At one point Collins used penetration by fellow linebacker Marcus Brown to stop Calvin Roberts for a two-yard loss. The next play he stopped Roberts again at the line of scrimmage, and on the next play took out Julius Crosslin for a one-yard loss. Collins, who has been on campus less than three months and missed the last two seasons following an incident in high school, is showing little rust with his football aptitude, both instinctive and physical.

In the same drill Xavier Lawson-Kennedy made a nice solo play getting off his block and stopping starting running back Michael Hamilton for no gain.

Oensive highlights from the team period included a Zac Robinson pass zipped to wide receiver D'Juan Woods. Woods caught the ball but then lost it which distracted the defender from making the tackle. Woods hauled it in a second time and took off completing a 50-yard touchdown. That a case where a bobble worked to the receiver's advantage. On the next play fullback John Johnson caught a swing pass and put a heckuva stiff arm on weak side linebacker Jeremy Nethon for a nice gain.

Nethon later had his own highlight as he cut in front of wide receiver Anthony Parks and intercepted a Robinson pass for a big play by the defense. During the second team period safety Quinton Moore picked off a pass over the middle off the arm of freshman quarterback Alex Cate and made a nice return until the whistles were blown. Cornerback Jacob Lacey also stepped in front of a Pena pass for an interception.

Lawson-Kennedy and defensive end Marque Fountain teamed up for a pair of sacks in the first team period. They got the tag on Alex Cate first and then later on Bobby Reid. Fountain feels really good about being healthy and getting back playing full time rather than rehabbing.

"I'm having a lot of fun, and just like you said I've been hurt for it seem like a long time and every time we get the pads on," said the 6-1, 260-pound Fountain. "I'm back now and never realized when I was hurt on the sideline how much fun it is to come out here and be practicing with the team and just being able to play full speed. I'm taking full advantage of it."

Other offensive highlights included a long completion from Cate to D'Juan Woods on a fade route. Al Pena hit sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Broadway on a post that turned into a big play, and Julius Crosslin broke a couple of tackles in running for a 25-yard gain. In the second team period Adarius Bowman had three receptions, including one for a touchdown from Zac Robinson.

The Cowboys will be back on the field Friday at 3 p.m. for the first major scrimmage of the spring. Mike Gundy said it would be scripted for 100 or more plays. The coaching staff is still discussing whether to conduct the scrimmage on the grass practice field or move it into the stadium on the turf to allow coaches to use the press box and conduct game type communications.

GoPokes Top Stories