STILLWATER — Mike Gundy hasn’t hesitated to defend Oklahoma State hosting a 90-minute open practice rather than a traditional spring game.
Gundy has said multiple times he thinks Saturday’s “Orange Blitz” was better for his team and the fans.
Better for the team because the Cowboys are dealing with limited numbers after graduating 28 seniors and fighting injuries in the spring.
“I think it was exactly what we should have done,” Gundy said. “For example, we only ended up with one linebacker at two positions today.
“It would have been hard to have an Orange team and a White team. He would have had to switch jerseys every other series.”
Better for the fans? That’s up for debate.
Attendance in Boone Pickens Stadium wasn’t good — OSU estimated about 2,500 people attended.
But some, such as Sammie Kinsey from Nash, enjoyed the fan-driven atmosphere and interaction with players after practice.
“The other time I came, I didn’t get to come down on the field,” Nash said. “I love that, to talk to the people. I thought that was a positive thing. I felt welcome.”
OSU ran through individual drills and concluded with a short scrimmage, but Kenton Owens from Oklahoma City said Orange Blitz lacked the entertainment value of a spring game.
“It just wasn’t as exciting for the fans because there wasn’t a score,” Owens said. “When people come to see it, I think they like to see points on the board.”
Despite that, it wasn’t all bad for Owens.
“The interaction after, kids getting the autographs, I thought that was nice touch,” Owens said.
From a player’s perspective, running back Desmond Roland is sitting out the spring after shoulder surgery, but said he still wanted a game setting.
“I feel like we should still have spring game,” Roland said. “That’s what we enjoy, coming out, wearing the jerseys, having a game feeling.”
Overall reviews were mixed, much like Gundy’s outlook for the future of spring football at OSU. Gundy said next year, a smaller senior class would make numbers favorable for a spring game. At the same time, he prefers the Orange Blitz format, and if OSU retains large senior classes, it might make sense to do it again.
“I think it’s better, the way we did it today,” Gundy said. “And hopefully we’ll have this issue again, four or five years from now.”