New Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich hasn't tweaked much of the Cowboys' Air Raid spread system.
But he has increased the tempo.
That's almost difficult to fathom, as the Cowboys were already attacking opposing defenses with their no-huddle, quick pace. But coach Mike Gundy said he isn't surprised the Cowboys are going even faster this spring.
“When I studied potential coordinator candidates on tape and I watched Shippensburg on video,” Gundy said, “I noticed the majority of the time they got a first down, the ball was snapped before the chains were set.
“Now, I don't know what kind of chain gangs they have in that league — not to knock that league — but I know they must have been moving pretty fast for that to happen. I would say the speed of our offense has increased this spring.”
OSU ran an average of 78 offensive plays per game last season, which helped the Cowboys rack up 547 total yards per game (fourth in the nation) and 45.69 points per game (third in the nation).
JOHNSON, CLARK, BEAN LEAD DEFENSIVE END ROTATION
Defensive end is arguably Oklahoma State's biggest position battle this spring, with the Cowboys needing to replace three key contributors in Ryan Robinson, Cooper Bassett and Nigel Nicholas.
New defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements gave his assessment of the group Wednesday, revealing that senior Tyler Johnson and sophomores Trace Clark and Jimmy Bean are ahead of the rest of the pack right now.
Behind them, Clements said, are junior college transfer Sam Wren and redshirt freshman Emmanuel Ogbah.
“I think I have a strong group of guys to work with,” Clements said. “It's just a matter of sorting out which ones are the best.”
Johnson recorded 27 tackles (six for loss), four sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and three pass breakups in 2012, his first season at defensive end after converting from linebacker. Clark played in seven games as a true freshman, while an injury forced Bean to redshirt last season.
Clements described Clark as a mature sophomore and a player who is rarely caught out of position. Bean, Clements said, has more speed, length and athleticism off the edge and could develop into a big-play threat.
Other defensive ends participating in spring practice include early enrollee Naim Mustafaa and redshirt freshmen Eric Davis and Victor Irokansi.
RAIN NOT AN ISSUE FOR SCRIMMAGE
Rain pounded much of Oklahoma on Tuesday and Wednesday, giving Oklahoma State wet and chilly conditions for a 115-play scrimmage Wednesday afternoon.
Gundy said he never considered postponing practice and actually welcomed the elements.
“We have to be able to function on offense and execute in all conditions,” Gundy said. “(Wednesday was) a good day to practice our offense. Quarterbacks have to think through their philosophy. If the rain's coming down, maybe you don't throw the ball down the field as far, but you have to be able to manage the game and get the ball in the hands of the guys that can make plays.”
Gundy added that even if the OSU's new indoor facility, which is nearing completion, had been available, the Cowboys still would have practiced outside. That facility will be used on the hot days of fall camp and during storms with lightning.