David Glidden is no stranger to the bright lights of a top-tier college football matchup.
Arizona at home in 2011 and on the road in 2012. Mississippi State in the opener last year. Bowl games against Stanford and Missouri. Three Bedlam matchups.
The junior Oklahoma State wide receiver said “being in the Big 12 is tough,” but 2014 presents a whole new set of challengers. The Cowboys’ strength of schedule is among the conference’s best.
And it’s not just Florida State in the opener.
“Down the stretch, it does get tough again,” Glidden said.
Nine weeks after the Cowboys take on the Seminoles on Aug. 30, OSU faces a brutal road schedule to close the season — Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma.
While the motto hasn’t changed, taking each game as it comes, the prospect of facing the Big 12’s best on the road to finish the year only emphasizes the need for young team to jell and learn on the fly.
“Every day when you’re pushing those younger guys, it is something you think about,” Glidden said. “You remind them that’s why we’ve got the music playing at practice and all that kind of stuff.
“If they’re complaining late in practice, they’re ready to get off the field. But yet, we’ve got to keep pushing because that’s how it’s going to be when we’re down at OU or Baylor and you’ve got 100,000 fans in Norman just screaming at you. At the same time, that’s what makes it fun.”
But from a strictly game-planning perspective, those late season-matchups don’t matter, defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. Not yet, at least.
“I’d be lying if I said I haven’t looked a lot at Florida State, but thought about the other games?” Spencer asked. “No … I’d be uptight and anxious if we were playing a team we were favored by four touchdowns (in the opener). That’s just me.”
CONNELLY PRAISES RUN GAME AS STRENGTH
First-year offensive line coach Bob Connelly understands the challenge ahead of him this season.
He takes over a position group that features a new starting center. There are questions as to whether his two most experienced returners — Brandon Garrett and Devin Davis — will be at full strength after suffering injuries last season. A handful of underclassmen will get their first shot at starting roles.
But through the first two weeks of fall practice, Connelly said he’s been impressed with one aspect of his unit’s development.
“You know, I think that we're a very good run team right now,” Connelly said. “We've got to continue to grow and develop, and we're young, as we stated. We're going to continue to get better each and every day. Obviously, that's a goal of mine for them and a goal of Coach (Mike) Gundy for the football team. As long as we take baby steps and show improvement each day, we're doing that. As we develop mentally and understand the scheme structures both offensively and defensively, I think we'll continue to progress.”
But Gundy was hesitant to immediately declare the run game a team strength.
“We have a long ways to go,” Gundy said. “You’re certainly a better running team when you have running backs that can make plays, and then (offensive) linemen just have to cover up defensive lineman. We still have a ways to go. We’ve got another 10 practices before we can really decide who we are.”
MUNCRIEF MAKES SWITCH TO INSIDE RECEIVER
Junior Caleb Muncrief is switching positions this fall — from running back to inside receiver.
“I just feel like it was a better fit,” Muncrief said. “I just wanted to get out in space and I enjoy receiver. If I can get out in space, it gives me a better opportunity to showcase my skills not.”
Muncrief said he played receiver his freshman and sophomore seasons at Madill High School and that he’s “always had confidence in my hands.”
“It’s just learning the signals and plays,” Muncrief said. “That’s all I’ve got to do.”
Muncrief has been featured at running back and return specialist. He’s totaled 75 rushing yards on 20 carries over the past two seasons.