Coach Mike Gundy and everyone around the Oklahoma State football program knew junior-college transfer Tyreek Hill was fast.
He already proved that by setting school records in the 60- and 200-meter dashes, not that there were many doubters.
Now they’re seeing how quickly he can make a difference on the football field.
Hill will likely play at inside receiver and could get in on kick returns this fall, but at Tuesday’s open practice, Hill made noise out of the backfield.
Playing multiple positions could make it tough for Hill to balance his roles, but with his rare athleticism, that might not be a problem.
“The main thing you want to make sure of with Tyreek is that you hand the ball to him to the right and to the left,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “Sometimes that will be the balance.”
His physical tools are obvious, but Gundy said Hill’s reserved personality also bodes well for his success in the fall.
“I tried to razz him a little bit and get him to talk about himself a little bit and kind of come out of his shell, and he walks out here like he didn’t even compete in a track meet this year,” Gundy said. “If he continues to have that demeanor and stays humble, I would expect him to have success here.”
WALSH LEADING QUARTERBACKS
Freshman Mason Rudolph came in with hype surrounding him and Daxx Garman has generated buzz in spring drills, but J.W. Walsh still has the top spot on the quarterback depth chart.
“He’s the most experienced and he’s earned that, then we have the other two guys that are inexperienced that are out there competing,” Gundy said. “We put Daxx in some with the ones, and in practice, when we’re not in a setting like (a live scrimmage), we’ll let Mason work a little bit with the ones.”
“J.W.’s a guy that’s been in there, that’s made the most plays for us throughout the spring and he understands our offense.”
YOUNG DEFENSE GETS EXPOSED
Outside of the quarterbacks, defense remains the biggest question mark for OSU.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said his unit has a long way to go after the Cowboys competed in live drills for the first time on Tuesday.
“I didn’t like it,” Spencer said. “We will find out more tomorrow (on film). There will be some things that stand out that were good, but overall we are not very good right now.”
The Cowboys have to replace seven starters from last season. With two returners in tackle James Castleman and end Jimmy Bean anchoring the line, the biggest areas of concern are linebackers and safeties.
“We got exposed at times today just based on new guys,” Gundy said.
“They’ll get better. There’s really no substitute for experience, and that’s the first time a number of those guys on defense have been in a live drill.”
‘ORANGE BLITZ’ ON SATURDAY
Rather than a traditional spring game, Oklahoma State hosts its “Orange Blitz” at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.
The event is a free, 90-minute open practice with a fan interaction and autograph session afterward. Gundy said OSU also aims for an entertainment setup similar to the NFL Combine.
“There’s interviews and things on the video board, there’s a live mic walking around the practice,” Gundy said. “I’ll make comments at times and try to entertain the fans and give them the information that they want.”
Despite taking criticism for eliminating the spring game, Gundy reiterated he thinks Orange Blitz will be a better experience for fans and his team.
“I’m certain it’ll be a better day along with an autograph session and a little more festivity than what would be a spring game with limited numbers at this time,” Gundy said.