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Oklahoma State football: Defensive end a competition to watch at OSU

Oklahoman Modified: March 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm •  Published: March 5, 2013
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The Oklahoman’s John Helsley took questions from readers in today’s Oklahoma State Power Lunch Chat. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here’s a look at today’s Q&A.

ON OKLAHOMA STATE FOOTBALL:

If you had to guess, who starts at DE for OSU this year and two primary backups?

This is going to be one of the better competitions of the spring — and summer. Tyler Johnson seemed to really come on at the end of last season and can be a pass-rushing force. I think Sam Wren, the juco addition, gets a jump on a job by being here early and seemingly more advanced than the pups, although those guys will be very much in play. Keep an eye on Jimmy Bean, Trace Clark, Victor Irokansi and even Naim Mustafaa.

I've been so focused on basketball I can't recall if Gundy has hired a special teams coordinator ... has he? If so, who?

Nothing new on the special teams front. When DeForest left for West Virginia, Gundy opted not to use a full-time staff position for special teams, instead piecing it together, to mixed results. Appears that will be the path again for 2013.

With the shroud of secrecy surrounding the new OC Yurcich and spring football fast approaching have you received any feedback to how well he's meshing with rest of the staff?

All early reports on Yurcich have been positive, although that's what you'd expect at this point. If you've seen his videos, he's a charismatic, funny and engaging personality. He did some good things at Shippensburg, some dynamic things on offense. He'll have to adapt to OSU's offense, but will surely get to make his imprint on the attack, as Gundy saw things he liked in him.

With 4 or 5 guys in the race for quarterback at OSU, do you foresee any of them transferring if they don't win the starting position?

That's always a popular question. And with good reason. Kids generally are less patient these days, especially at the QB position, although Chelf proved that it pays to hang in there a year ago.

For OSU, this will be an issue worth monitoring. If Chelf doesn't win the job, I could definitely see him leaving, as he's a grad student who would be eligible immediately elsewhere — Southern Miss perhaps?

As for Lunt and Walsh, I don't have a great feel for either one of them, although if either slipped to No. 3 or below, you'd have to think it would become a consideration. Garman won't be going anywhere, as he's already transferred and would have to forfeit another year by moving again.

Does OSU have a legit threat at the running back position?

I actually like Smith as Option A. Yes, he's different from Randle and doesn't catch the ball as well, but he's been very good when given opportunity. The thing with Smith will be staying healthy, which hasn't always been easy for him. I do expect a time share, whether that's Desmond Roland or one of the incoming freshmen. They should be in good hands, again.

Do you think the defense will be better under Spencer? I've heard more aggressive defense and I've heard much of the same as Young. Do you think it was the timing of play calling that was more of a factor for the losses compared to scheme?

I do expect more aggressiveness, although that doesn't always mean better. It's players who make things better. Rough years by the CBs last season contributed to the struggles, and Young's demise. I'd expect more press coverage. Lyndell Johnson moving to SS should help. The talent and athleticism overall should be better, too. None of that has to do with coaching ...

Do you think that after OSU’s horrible 6-5 record last season, (I don’t count the two high school teams) Gundy is in the hot seat?

Not a chance. They won the school's first Big 12 title in 2011! A step back was expected last season, now OSU or TCU should be the favorite to win the conference in 2013. And TCU visits BPS.

OSU was just two plays short (defensively), from beating both Texas and OU last year. Does Glen Spencer improve our defense this year?

Another way to look at it is they were two offensive plays short of beating those teams. It'll be interesting to see what Spencer changes, as far as approach and aggressiveness. I don't expect it to be drastically different. But I think the defense improves, mainly because the talent proves better. The front seven should be stout.

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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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