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OSU football notebook: Defensive back Lyndell Johnson leaves team

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said Johnson, who would have been a senior this fall, has left OSU for personal reasons. His departure will leave a significant hole in the secondary.
By Cody Stavenhagen, For The Oklahoman Published: March 10, 2014

One big name was missing from Oklahoma State’s spring football roster breakdown.

Safety Lyndell Johnson is no longer with the team due to personal reasons, coach Mike Gundy said at his Monday news conference.

Johnson had 54 tackles and two fumble recoveries as a junior in 2013. His departure leaves a sizable void in the OSU secondary.

We’re really young at that position,” Gundy said. “We’re not really too deep. We’ve got young guys we have to develop and bring them on, and hopefully we’ll have a player come in from high school that can help us out in the fall.”

This leaves sophomores Deric Robertson and Jordan Sterns as the first options to take Johnson’s place. Senior Larry Stephens, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, is also in the mix.

“You’re gonna have to have guys step up and do things they didn’t have to do before,” cornerback Kevin Peterson said. “They’re just gonna have to grow up a little faster.”


Juniors J.W. Walsh and Daxx Garman join early enrollee, freshman Mason Rudolph, as the main quarterbacks competing for OSU’s starting gig. But they are not the only ones in the mix.

Walk-on Jake Hubenak and Connecticut transfer Richard Lagow are also fighting for the job. With a five-man race comes the problem of how to divide practice reps.

“There’s only so many reps to go around,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “You can’t rep all five significantly. You have to make sure you’re doing a good job selecting our top guys.”

For now, Walsh will be the primary option in spring practices.

“J.W. will be the guy who goes out there first now because he’s got the most experience,” Gundy said. “But those other quarterbacks will get a chance.”

With the past two years of quarterback controversies at OSU setting precedent, the derby is likely only beginning. Gundy said Rudolph has shown good work ethic and attitude in team workouts, Garman is known for his arm, and Lagow and Hubenak are no scrubs.

Again, deciding on one man to lead the offense is the chief issue for Gundy’s squad.

“We have a lot of work in front of us as an offensive football team at that position,” Gundy said. “But we have a plan in place, and I feel comfortable with our plan. We know what direction we want to go, and we know how to get there. It’ll just take a lot of work.”


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