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Thoughts and observations: OSU spring game

by John Helsley Published: April 16, 2011
The Cowboys will miss Thomas' ball-hawking on defense.
The Cowboys will miss Thomas' ball-hawking on defense.

 

by Brandon Chatmon
bchatmon@opubco.com
Follow me on Twitter @BChatmon

Spring game is over with the White team winning 49-46 over the Orange squad.

My thoughts and observations of the Orange-White spring game:

Brandon Weeden is outstanding. He made a couple throws today that were NFL level tosses. Cowboy fans should feel really, really good about having him at the helm.

Justin Blackmon is Justin Blackmon. If he’s on the field, he’s going to perform at a high level, it’s just that simple.

— Anytime you have two NFL players that are going to lead your team (see above), you have to be excited.

–Safety Johnny Thomas was the star of the spring game with a 64-yard kick return, 61-yard interception return, forced fumble and five tackles. Markelle Who?…. Just kiddin’ Markelle.

— I think Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith have the chance to be one of the top running back duos in the Big 12. They complement each other quite nicely. As crazy as this sounds, it looks like the Pokes will be able to replace Kendall Hunter without a huge drop off.

— If Tracy Moore can consistently perform the way he did today, he could be a big part of the offense. His combination of size, hands and body control makes him tough to cover. It’s all up to Tracy how big a part of the offense he becomes.

— I’m sure Hubert Anyiam is disappointed with his opportunities in the spring game. He had a great spring by all accounts but I don’t remember the ball getting thrown his way very often.

— If Clint Chelf didn’t make one bad decision, his interception to Johnny Thomas, I’d say he had the best day of all the quarterbacks. I think the backup spot is his to lose and I expect him to be the No. 2 this fall as of right now.

–I’m not going to read into the rushing stats too much. The offensive lines were mismatched between the White and Orange squads.

–One problematic stat: The two teams combined to go 6 of 26 on third down conversions.

J.W. Walsh showed flashes. You can tell he’s a gamer. But you can also tell he’s relatively new to the offense. Give him time to get comfortable with the offense.

J.W. Walsh led the White team offense on a scoring drive
J.W. Walsh led the White team offense on a scoring drive

Justin Gilbert looks like he will become a terrific cornerback for the Pokes. His development and progression has to have the coaching staff excited. He’s playing much more physical than he did last season. And he accepts the challenge of being on an island.

— I really like Zack Craig. I think the sophomore safety going to be a player, I thought he was a sleeper when he signed and he’s only cemented that belief early in his career. He always seems to be around the ball. 7 tackles, 3 pass breakups, 2 interceptions for Craig.

— Speaking of always being around the ball, linebacker Shaun Lewis with a fumble return for a touchdown. Big play from Lewis? We’ve seen that before.

– One name that could get overlooked is Ryan Robinson. The JC transfer had two sacks from his defensive end spot. He looks like he could provide a much-needed pass rush this fall.

Richetti Jones was also solid. Two tackles for loss, one sack and one quarterback hurry for the senior-to-be.

— The leading tackler for the White team should make OSU fans smile: Caleb Lavey. We’re used to seeing Orie Lemon sitting atop the tackle list, so to see Lavey, who is battling Tyler Johnson to replace Lemon, atop the list should be reassuring.

— Another overlooked player: Deion Imade. Another sophomore safety who is always around the ball, he finished with six tackles and one fumble recovery.

– It was awesome to see Kye Staley on the field and being productive. 11 carries, 55 yards. If he continues this, he will find a role in the offense.

— The interception by Tyler Johnson was an exceptional play. You don’t see linebackers who have hands like that, great diving catch. Expect the former pro baseball player to make a impact this fall. He finished with six tackles including one for loss and the interception.

— The offense must take better care of the ball. True enough some of the turnovers were made by backups but that doesn’t make it ok. Everybody needs to take care of the ball and the quarterbacks need to make better decisions.

— On the flip side, the defense made great plays on a couple of the turnovers (Johnson’s INT, Staley’s fumble, Blackmon’s fumble). OSU’s defense is trained to force fumbles and they did.

— Coach Mike Gundy should like the physical mindset of his team. They were willing to be physical and be tough on Saturday.

— Best thing about OSU’s spring: Gundy said he expects everybody to be healthy by July.

— Overall it was a successful spring at OSU and a good spring game. The Cowboys seem poised to create havoc in the Big 12 this season.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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