Mike Gundy on Oklahoma State’s spring position battles
Here are some more notes from the pre-spring practice conversation with Mike Gundy, which focus mostly on the position battles heading into the spring.
I will have a big story on this on Sunday, so I’m going to hold onto those quotes for now. But junior Clint Chelf, redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh and true freshman Wes Lunt will have equal reps in the spring. And even though Chelf is an upperclassman and the only quarterback that has taken a college snap, it’s not “his job to lose.” It truly is an open competition.
Daxx Garman, a transfer from Arizona, is indeed on campus. This was something I was honestly unsure about, because he was not included in the release announcing Lunt, Blake Jackson, Calvin Barnett and Jeremiah Tshimanga had enrolled early. Garman will participate in spring drills but won’t get any reps, since he has to sit out 2012 because of NCAA transfer rules.
This is when it was revealed that Michael Harrison had decided to leave the OSU football program. Some bullet points to keep in mind here: He was suspended by the NCAA, not Gundy or OSU; He was not kicked off the team but decided to leave on his own terms; Gundy was notified of Harrison’s decision about a week ago, not when the news first came out in mid-February that he would not play in 2012; to the best of Gundy’s knowledge, Harrison has not yet asked for a release from OSU.
When asked who will step up at receiver, Gundy basically rattled off every returning receiver on the roster—Tracy Moore, Isaiah Anderson, Josh Stewart (or “No. 5,” as Gundy likes to say) and Charlie Moore.
But then the conversation turned to junior college tight end Blake Jackson, who I wrote about in January, but Gundy offered some more insight on progress so far and style of play.
“He’s 20 pounds heavier than he was when he got here, he’s developed, his attitude’s good. He can really snatch the ball, he plays faster than he looks, he’s big and physical. He hasn’t made any plays for us, he made a lot of plays on the teams he played with before, but he has potential to be a really good player. But it’s impossible to say (how good he really is), because he hasn’t been with me.
“He’s a little more elusive than what people think, and he’s hard to get down. He should catch a lot of balls at eight yards and less, but he’s not a guy that’s limited speed-wise and stays in that area. He can run a 16-yard crossing route. He should play attached, in a wing and split out.
“He very well could be (the most versatile tight end I’ve had at OSU) with his body type and his ability to run. I’m hoping that he’s going to be a more agile (Brandon) Pettigrew. In seeing what I’ve seen so far, he’s not as far along as Pettigrew was at blocking the edge. Pettigrew was probably the best in the country his years. So that’s an unfair comparison, comparing him to a first-round pick who was probably the best blocker we’ve ever had. So he’s not going to be as far along there, but I’m hoping he’s more advanced out here (as a receiver), more flexible than what Pettigrew was. So then we have to balance where he’s at based on his strengths.”
Brandon Weeden called Grant Garner the most important offensive player for OSU last season. He’s gone now, as well as backup Casey LaBrue. Evan Epstein, who began his career at Air Force before transferring to OSU in 2009, should begin the spring as the starter.
Here’s Gundy’s take:
“When Garner took over, nobody thought he was going to be on the team. He was a guy most people thought he was just a guy we were filling a hole with. He ended up being, in some people’s mind, a third-team All-American. What you’re saying’s right. Every question you’re asking is right, but I just have no concern with it. There’s guys in our program that’ll make plays.”
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