Mike Gundy gave some insight the other day to why certain players play and perhaps why certain players don’t.
Gundy was not available to outside media after spring practice Monday or Tuesday but did respond to some questions from OSU personnel. And one of his answers was very enlightening.
Gundy was asked how the receivers were developing.
Jhajuan “Seales is coming along,” Gundy said, “and (Marcell) Ateman, when he decides to play hard, he’s a big, physical body. Mentally, he has to come around and understand the importance of practicing hard every day.”
If you ever wonder why some guys don’t play as much as you think they would, why some great physical specimens don’t soar to the top of the depth chart, Gundy gave us a great clue.
Consistent work ethic. Going hard every day, every play.
Ateman passes the eye test; he’s 6-foot-4, 190 pounds. Excellent athlete. Excellent prospect. Heck, excellent player. Ateman had 22 catches for 276 yards as a true freshman, in a crowded OSU receiving corps.
But he’s got to win over the coaches. Ateman has to learn to practice hard, apparently, in Gundy’s eyes. Coaches usually don’t trust players who are inconsistent in practice. Coaches are worried that it could carry over into games.
Ateman is young. He should learn. This is his first spring practice. But Ateman is like a lot of young players who might not be accustomed to the commitment required. He’s going to have to win over his coaches.
This is what else Gundy had to say about the receivers: “The other guys are doing well. (Austin) Hays is doing well. (Blake) Webb has done well. Some of those young receivers are starting to make a few plays, so it’s exciting that we have talent on our team that can make plays in the future.”
Gundy said he hopes junior-college transfer Tyreek Hill can contribute as a kick returner. “He’s fast. We all know that,” Gundy said. “He gets from one place to the other extremely fast and looks different than the other players. His attitude’s been great. As long as his attitude continues to stay positive, we’ll get him coached up and hopefully he can help us in special teams in game one.”