In the words of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, the defense “dominated” the Cowboys’ first scrimmage of the spring on Monday evening at Boone Pickens Stadium.
The line was active throughout, whether it was getting a hand up to swat a pass away or getting into the backfield for a “sack.” The linebackers were quick running horizontally, highlighted by an athletic 90-plus-yard interception return for a touchdown by sophomore Lyndell Johnson when he jumped in front of on a J.W. Walsh bubble screen pass near the goal line. That all aided the play of the defensive backs, as well.
“The defense really ran to the ball well,” Gundy said. “Our second-level defenders really went sideways and eliminated some speed on the perimeter, whether it was a quick throw or a running play. And then our defensive line controlled the scrimmage, which forced the quarterback to make decisions quicker than what they needed to. You’ve got three quarterbacks that haven’t played much.
“And so you tie all that together, and the defense dominates the scrimmage.”
All three starting quarterback contenders — Walsh, junior Clint Chelf and true freshman Wes Lunt — alternated between running the first-team and second-team offense during the scrimmage.
And it doesn’t appear we’re any closer to Gundy naming a starter, though he maintains he would like to by the end of spring practice.
“Not one of the three quarterbacks played any better than the other,” Gundy said. “One, because they played very average. And two, because the defense controlled the scrimmage. That’s really what happened.
“Just standing there watching … nobody did anything to impress me. Part of it was self-inflicted, and part of it wasn’t.”
Here are some other comments from Gundy following the scrimmage.
On the rest of the offense’s performance:
“The running backs ran well. There just really wasn’t anywhere for them to go. Tracy Moore played well. Josh Stewart didn’t touch the ball very much. (Torrance) Carr made a couple catches. Blake Jackson realized it wasn’t junior college. Things like that. Typical things.”
On Lyndell Johnson’s interception return for a touchdown:
“Him and Joe Mitchell and Shaun (Lewis) and Alex (Elkins) and those guys are range-y and long, and that’s exciting for me. That (play) looked like what you see in the NFL. (Johnson’s) not an NFL player, I’m not saying that. But when he took off running, nobody was going to catch him. He’s taking two steps every five yards. He gained about 3 1/2 yards a step. That’s an encouraging and exciting thing for me, because in order for us to maintain a high level of play here for a number of years, we have to play like that on defense, and then we have to get our offense up and going.”
On if he’s discouraged that not one of the three starting quarterback contenders has distanced himself from the other two with 10 spring practices completed:
“I didn’t really expect them to. The second part of what’s happening out here is we’ve gone through some practices out here in the spring with (Brandon) Weeden and not scored. They’ve seen this for 10 (sessions) now and they know the offensive line calls. That’s not an excuse, but it’s going to be slower, and then it’s going to be even (slower) because (the quarterbacks) don’t have experience. Am I discouraged? No. Do I wish we would have played better on offense? Yes. We won’t change our (quarterback) reps for Wednesday’s practice, but we just have to keep going. Ultimately, at the end of the spring, I would like to name a starting quarterback.”
On the saying that if you have three quarterbacks, you really don’t have one:
“I think there’s some truth to that, (but) not now. Honestly, our quarterbacks need to train all summer and then 29 practices in the fall. We don’t have anybody that can just call it off. They need a lot of work. But when it comes time to play, we’ll have somebody ready. And then all the other areas that we’ve talked about need to help those guys along. … They’re a little more vulnerable at this stage and at this point than what we would normally be, because we’re just opening the (playbook) up and letting them play. Let them make all their mistakes and correct them.
On Wes Lunt’s development:
“He’s doing fine. He made some plays out here today. And what you have to remember is he’s supposed to be getting out (of his senior year of high school) at 11:30 a.m. and going to hang out with some girl and going to baseball practice or something. And he’s out here trying to figure all this out. He’s pretty far along for a guy that’s not been out here very long. He’ll be better next week than he is now. I think the summer’s huge for him. The development that he gets — the three or four months that he’ll in the weight room and then the reps that he’ll get out here mentally. You’ll see a considerable development with him, just from understanding what’s going on. He doesn’t throw with enough velocity on the ball at times right now. Part of that is because he can’t formulate and think fast enough to know where to go, so he’s just hesitant.