In 10 years as football coach at Oklahoma State, Mike Gundy said he’s never had a week in the spring as intense as this one.
With a young team and the 2014 season-opener against defending national champion Florida State, OSU needed to quicken the development cycle.
The Cowboys wrapped up their spring Friday with an 80-play scrimmage in their final practice until fall.
“From a scrimmage standpoint, we were so young, we needed more work,” Gundy said. “We just don’t have enough days to get these guys ready. But their effort was good. I asked these guys to work themselves today because there is no tomorrow.”
Despite the OSU defense returning only four starters and leaving defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer unhappy for much of the spring, Gundy and Spencer agreed the defense achieved notable development.
Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said he was most impressed by his team taking care of the ball and understanding concepts, but strides in maturity and toughness were his biggest takeaways from a demanding final week.
“That’s what you’re hoping to accomplish throughout the spring,” Yurcich said. “In practice, there are certain regulations where you don’t get to go hard every day, but when you do turn it up a little bit, you get to evaluate, and that’s what you want to see.”
CORNERS MAKE AN IMPRESSION
Even with the recent addition of Michigan transfer Josh Furman, Gundy said the safety position still needs to develop with players such as Tre Flowers and Jordan Sterns contending for starting spots.
At the same time, there is some reason for optimism in the secondary. Gundy said cornerbacks Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin impressed in the spring and were among the biggest playmakers in the Cowboys’ last practice.
Peterson is in a good position to stand out as a returning starter, and Lampkin publically got his name out there with an interception and big return in OSU’s Orange Blitz.
“They made a lot of nice plays,” Spencer said. “Kevin had a great scrimmage yesterday. He had two picks. Ashton’s got so much better. It’s just, again, do we need more gains before we line up? Yes, yes we do. They need every practice we can get, but I was impressed with what they did.”
HELP ON THE WAY AT LINEBACKER
Among other spots up for grabs on the OSU defense, the Cowboys are still sorting out the situation at linebacker.
Junior Ryan Simmons is likely to move to middle linebacker after starting last season at weakside. Other than Simmons, nothing is for sure.
Seth Jacobs, Kris Catlin, Demarcus Sherod and junior college transfer Devante Averette are contending for playing time, but so will incoming freshmen such as Gyasi Akem from Broken Arrow and Houston Klein Oak’s Josh Mabin. Along with fellow linebacker signees D’Nerious Antoine and Justin Phillips, they won’t join the team until fall.
“It’s kind of whatever’s out there,” Spencer said. “If it’s the guys that are here now, we’ll get it done with them. If we get some extra help, that would be great, too.”
GARMAN APPEARS OK
Despite rumors of quarterback Daxx Garman suffering a serious knee injury April 4, Gundy said at Orange Blitz he didn’t expect Garman’s injury to be significant, although he hadn’t yet heard official word.
Friday, a team spokesman declined to provide an update, but Garman was dressed out and walked from OSU’S Sherman E. Smith Training Facility to Boone Pickens Stadium without any limp, although he was wearing a light strap on his left knee.
J.W. Walsh appears to have the edge to start heading into the fall, but coaches raved about Garman’s arm throughout the spring season.