Oklahoma State receiver Blake Webb said he spent most of last season frustrated after redshirting because of an early season foot injury.
Saturday at OSU’s Orange Blitz, Webb unleashed some of that frustration for the first time in front of fans.
Webb caught four passes in OSU’s short scrimmage, including a 55-yard touchdown from freshman Mason Rudolph, and finished with as impressive a day as anyone, showing what a difference a year can make.
“I’d just say I’m a lot faster. I’m bigger,” Webb said. “I know the game a lot better now. I’m more comfortable playing in the offense, and that comes with maturity.”
Webb also had an impressive showing at Tuesday’s open practice and is one of several players contending for time in the slot. If this week is any indication, Webb could be on track to emerge as a reliable target at OSU’s deepest position.
“He’s had a good spring,” coach Mike Gundy said. “He and Austin Hays, both those guys had injuries last year, but they’ve had a good offseason, they’ve come back, and he’s made some plays.”
OFFENSIVE LINE NEEDS EXPERIENCE
It’s been a spring of uncertainty for the Oklahoma State offensive line. It’s also been a spring of opportunity.
No position has faced more of both than center, where Paul Lewis has taken over and Grant Canis is filling in with the second string.
Gundy said Lewis is adjusting well, but the inexperience at center has still been a struggle, especially for the first time in a live setting on Saturday.
“You worry about guys getting snaps,” Gundy said. “They’re out there for the first time, the crowd’s here, the media is here, so you worry about them being able to snap the ball so we can function in practice.
“It’s been an adventure, but I would say they’ve done a nice job.”
For the rest of the line, there’s work to do across the board.
The Cowboys lost Parker Graham, Jake Jenkins, Travis Cross, Brandon Webb and position coach Joe Wickline. Devin Davis and Brandon Garrett are still recovering from injuries, leaving players such as Zach Crabtree and Zac Veatch looking to impress new line coach Bob Connelly.
“We just don’t have that much depth, especially with two starters that aren’t even out there with us,” Gundy said. “For that reason, when the twos are out there, it’s not easy for a quarterback.”
It’s easy to forget about the kicking game, but Gundy said sophomore kicker Ben Grogan is making noticeable improvements.
Grogan was shaky at best in 2013, making 11 of 18 field goals. Two of those misses were blocked, and Grogan was only 2 of 5 from beyond 40 yards.
After Grogan spent time working with strength coach Rob Glass, Gundy said the kicker is on track to be more reliable next season.
“I know people think, ‘A kicker in the weightroom?’ ” Gundy said. “But we’ve seen a considerable difference with our kickers and our punters after they’ve been with Rob for a year, and I think that’s what we’ve seen with Grogan.”
Gundy said he has questions at every position besides defensive line and receiver, but he also mentioned Grogan as one of the offseason’s biggest improvements. And with inexperience all around, a good kicking game could be crucial for the Cowboys in 2014.