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Oklahoma State chat: John Helsley answers questions on the state of Cowboys basketball, spring football

by John Helsley Published: April 4, 2014

NewsOK Sports 10:24 a.m. John Helsley will be on at 11 a.m. to discuss the transfer of Brian Williams, the future of Travis Ford and more on the Power Lunch chat. Make sure to get your questions in in advance. Thanks.
NewsOK Sports 11:02 a.m. Greetings from the home office in Edmond, where sunshine beams in through the front window on this happy Friday. Nothing like a little OSU chat-ter to head into the weekend. Here we go...
dr. el prez 11:02 a.m. John, Brian Williams vexed me this season. I thought he would be a stellar role player and a key defender. I would assume he is free to transfer to any Big 12 school like Patmon did in football. Any chance Lon Kruger would take a flyer on Williams for a season? Sooners need some defensive TSN (Toughness Snarl Nasty). Stevie Clark...where will he be next season as well?
John Helsley 11:05 a.m. El Prez, always good to hear from you.
I think Brian Williams vexed many with his play this season. I'm not sure he ever fully recovered from that bad wrist injury, at least not mentally. Getting to know him a little bit over the past few years, he's a good kid. Really good kid. But something was missing this year.
Could he land in Norman? Wow, that would be interesting. I'd think something closer to home in Louisiana would be more likely, but only a guess.
Stevie Clark remains in school at OSU, working on staying eligible for his next stop... unknown.
skyler 11:06 a.m. What is your guess for who starts at qb against Florida state? If Devin Davis is not back for the season can the OL get the job done?
John Helsley 11:08 a.m. I'd expect Walsh to start. You need an experienced QB in a game like that. And that doesn't fit Garman or Rudolph.
I believe Davis to be a key piece of the OL next fall. They need him back. Without him, I'd be concerned about a unit that is already short on depth. And experience.
Guest 11:08 a.m. From Gundy's comments during the recent media session, it sounds like the offensive coaches have picked their three quarterbacks who will see the majority of the reps in Walsh, Garman and Rudolph. Do you think Lagow and Hubenak are out of the discussion for starting at this point?
John Helsley 11:09 a.m. Practice reps are so hard to divide among three QBs, let alone five. So yeah, I'd say it's the three -- Walsh, Garman and Rudolph -- with Lagow and Hubanek battling for craps and to make an impression on the scout team in the fall.
Brian Wick 11:10 a.m. Did you find it strange that Frod didn't mention Brian Williams by name in his end of year presser? Makes me think Ford knew this was comimg.
John Helsley 11:12 a.m. Ford always does end of season exit interviews with his players, talking about expectations for the offseason, next season, etc. I'm sure they talked about Williams' role. Honestly, I wouldn't have seen any guarantees of extensive playing time for Williams next season, not with what they have and what they have coming. Could be best for both parties.
Patrick 11:12 a.m. So, why do you think Middleton was the scapegoat? Is it because they haven't really recruited/retained enough quality bigs? Any chance they bring in anybody that would still have a shot at landing Turner?
John Helsley 11:15 a.m. I've heard from some folks that Ford may have been "urged" to shake up his staff. So not sure he's a scapegoat.
As for Myles Turner, the Cowboys remain very much in the picture. In a recent Q&A, he said what he likes most about OSU is his relationship with all the coaches. So I think they're good in that regard.
It'll likely come down to Texas, OSU and KU, if Embiid leaves.
FreeDrop 11:15 a.m. It seems like OSU doesn't really want to retain Ford, but has to due to the contract. The entire environment surrounding the basketball program seems toxic. Is there any chance Ford would shred his contract?
FreeDrop 11:15 a.m. Is it fair to say OSU would be rid of Ford if not for his contract?
John Helsley 11:17 a.m. Mike Holder's comments in the story our Berry Tramel had last week were interesting. It's not a great contract, possibly for OSU or Ford, considering the expectations that come with it.
One thing to consider, the pool of coaches looking to move has not been stellar this season. If you fire a coach, you better KNOW that you can replace with a good one. A home run hire.
Brian Wick 11:17 a.m. Where would you see MJ Rhett fitting in the rotation if he did end up comimg to OSU?
John Helsley 11:19 a.m. Rhett, a bulky 6-9 forward, would certainly add to OSU's post situation. Sounds like he's pretty skilled. He offers experience. I could see him getting a good share of minutes in a rotation with Cobbins, Murphy, Solomon
orangie 11:19 a.m. Is miles turner coming to Stillwater? saw a report that he listed he changed his top 5 to a top 6 to include SMU?
John Helsley 11:21 a.m. Turner has made his official visit to OSU and continues to include them on his final list. He's had SMU in his discussion before, so adding them wouldn't surprise me. It would be a shocker, though, if he chose the Mustangs.
CowboysRule- Chris 11:21 a.m. Thoughts on Travis Ford letting Middleton go? Hate it for him and his family but seems like a good move. Something needed to change in the OSU basketball program. Seems like OSU has had a tough time with big mean in getting quality besides a couple undersized guys recently.
John Helsley 11:24 a.m. The coach's family, one of the forgotten aspects of changes. It impacts many more than the coach and can be very difficult, especially for children.
So that's definitely the sad side.
On the basketball side, the Cowboys need to do a better job identifying and developing big men. Of course, a lot of schools are in the same boat. Good ones are just hard to find.
bluto 11:24 a.m. I see a lot of ou baseball and softball games on tv, heck I have even seen some tcu baseball games on tv, why aren't there any osu games on tv?
John Helsley 11:25 a.m. I don't have the baseball schedule in front of me, but I think the Cowboys have some games coming up on the regional network. Better series ahead, so better games for the network.
Dez Jr. 11:25 a.m. Hi John,do you think that OSU wil actually compete this coming season or can we go ahead and call it a "rebuilding year"? I know Gundy develops players at a pretty quick rate, but what do we have to look forward to this year?
John Helsley 11:29 a.m. I'd call it a rebuilding year, although that doesn't mean the Cowboys can't win a decent number of games.
Right now, I'd put the over/under at 7 1/2, so pick a side.
Florida State, tough road games at Baylor, OU, K-State and TCU -- OSU will be the underdog in all. Can they win a couple of those? Sure, if QB develops and the defensive replacements come along quickly.
But it's going to be tough.
What to look forward to: Tyreek Hill is going to thrill, he's the real deal; the receivers are as good as anyone's in the Big 12, if not better; the D-line is strong, even without Barnett; and just development should be fun. I see this as a team that could continue to get better as the season progresses and become a scary team late.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Hey John what as spring football wraps up what are your overall impressions of the OSU football team? Also, what are your expectations for the Cowboy baseball team as they head into the conference schedule?
John Helsley 11:31 a.m. The defense is behind, which is to be expected in replacing seven starters and much of its leadership. That side of the ball needs time. And they're learning on the fly, literally, as the offense isn't slowing down to accommodate them. There are plenty of playmakers, which gives this team a shot, as long as the O-line continues to develop.
Guest 11:31 a.m. Why does experience seem to be such an issue for the Florida State game? Shouldn't we start the best player, who gives us the best shot at winning? Bobby Reid had more experience than Zrob before he took over.
John Helsley 11:33 a.m. Experience is a major factor in determining who gives you the best shot at winning. Against a team like FSU, you want someone who's been in big games, faced elite competition.
Now, not saying that if there's a wide gap in talent, you should just go with the more experienced guy. But right now, Walsh appears to be the best player.
Right now.
Could change.
OSU2014 11:33 a.m. If Mason Rudolph doesn't start or see some playing time, do you think he'll transfer like Wes Lunt did? What about Hubenak and Lagow? They seem to be pretty talented. What are your predictions for (departing) quarterback transfers this year?
John Helsley 11:36 a.m. Every situation is different.
Some guys progress faster, pick up the offense faster, get comfortable faster.
Lunt set a usually unattainable high bar by winning the job as a true freshman. That just doesn't happen often. And shouldn't be expected.
Most of the top QBs in the country did not start as true freshmen.
Jameis Winston. Johnny Football. On and on.
So, no, I wouldn't expect Rudolph to transfer.
Hubanek and Lagow are walk-ons, pretty good walk-ons, but walk-ons. And two more scholarship QBs are expected in the next recruiting class.
Patrick 11:36 a.m. Other than the commitment from Tyree Griffin, do you expect OSU to sign anybody else in the upcoming signing period?
John Helsley 11:37 a.m. Absolutely. Ford told me they're still working hard in recruiting, want to sign at least one more big man, if not two. The roster is fluid.
Guest 11:38 a.m. How in the world do people consider it a bad contract for Ford too? He has a one way buyout and is paid more than double what anyone else would pay. Every school has expectations so let's not say they are oppressive based on the contact. Pride should motivate him more than his contract.
John Helsley 11:39 a.m. Big contracts can be burdonsome. Ask some of the athletes who sign huge deals then struggle to live up to them.
Now, is that big paycheck good for Ford? Absolutely.
But I believe he's also judged more harshly because of it, too.
FreeDrop 11:39 a.m. I thought OSU's punting and placekicking -- which we've been spoiled by in the past -- were horrible last year. Any changes coming there?
John Helsley 11:40 a.m. I thought it was inconsistent, not necessarily horrible. Kip Smith should punt and kick off again. I'd expect Grogan to be the FG EP guy, although Gundy did bring in some walk-ons to compete. Grogran definitely has to progress in Year 2.
John Helsley 11:41 a.m. OK, folks, another strong chat. Thanks for joining me. Wishing you all a great weekend ahead.
I'll be at the Orange Blitz tomorrow, so follow me on Twitter @jjhelsley and of course follow our coverage in the paper and on

-- JH
by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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