Stillwater Pioneers football
|2 - 8||2 - 3||0 - 5||.200||267||359|
|2013-09-06||vs||McAlester||L||34 - 47|
|2013-09-13||@||Midwest City||L||22 - 28|
|2013-09-20||vs||Mustang||L||26 - 49|
|2013-09-27||vs||Ponca City||W||41 - 0|
|2013-10-04||@||Tulsa Union||L||21 - 62|
|2013-10-11||vs||Tulsa Washington||L||13 - 41|
|2013-10-17||@||Bartlesville||L||6 - 31|
|2013-10-25||@||Sand Springs||L||41 - 44|
|2013-11-01||vs||Enid||W||43 - 27|
|2013-11-08||@||Owasso||L||20 - 30|
|Player Name||Number||Year||Height||Weight||Position (main)|
Stillwater football News
NewsOK articles about Stillwater football, or articles mentioning current or former Stillwater football players.
Stillwater High School Varsity Boys Football
Aug 30, 2015
A few teams got the high school football season off to a good start with Week Zero last Friday, but a full schedule of Week 1 games are lined up across the state this week. Here's a look at The Oklahoman's top 10 games of the week: 1. Class 6A-II No. 2 Midwest City at 6A-II No. 3 Tulsa Washington Two historically powerful Class 6A-II teams with championship talent — one from Tulsa, one...
The Oklahoman's Top 10 Games of Week 1: Midwest City-Tulsa Washington a powerhouse matchup
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Aug 30, 2015A few teams got the high school football season off to a good start with Week Zero last Friday, but a full schedule of Week 1 games are lined up across the state this week. Here's a look at The Oklahoman's top 10 games of the week: 1. Class 6A-II No. 2 Midwest City at 6A-II No. 3 Tulsa Washington Two historically powerful Class 6A-II teams with championship talent — one from Tulsa, one from the Oklahoma City metro — meeting in the season opener. It can't be topped. 2. Class 6A-I No. 1 Jenks at 6A-II No. 1 Bixby Bixby has a big hill to climb to hang with Jenks, but the idea of two top-ranked defending champions meeting up in the opener is still fun. 3. Class 6A-I No. 4 Broken Arrow at 6A-I No. 5 Owasso The winner of this game gets a boost to its contender status as we try to decide who can challenge Jenks and Tulsa Union for the 6A-I crown. 4. Class 5A No. 6 Collinsville at 4A No. 2 Oologah, Thursday Collinsville won this matchup last year, but Oologah got back on track and made a run to the Class 4A finals. 5. Class 3A No. 5 Lincoln Christian vs. 2A No. 1 Davis at Choctaw, 3 p.m. Saturday Choctaw's special Saturday doubleheader starts with Jones vs. Vian at 11 a.m. 6. Southlake Carroll (Texas) at 6A-I No. 2 Tulsa Union One of Oklahoma's powerhouse big-school teams against one from Texas. Instant rivalry. 7. Class 5A No. 5 Ardmore at 4A No. 7 Ada New coaches on each side of this rivalry — Josh Newby at Ardmore and Wade Standley at Ada — but preseason hype has been high in each town. 8. Class 6A-I No. 9 Edmond Memorial at 6A-I No. 6 Southmoore, Thursday Edmond Memorial's solid defense will give Southmoore's young offensive talent a good test out of the gate. 9. Class 6A-II No. 5 Stillwater at 5A No. 3 Deer Creek Deer Creek gets a glimpse of its future with the impending move to 6A-II a year away. 10. Class A No. 7 Ringling at 2A No. 6 OCS An intriguing matchup between two teams that have been regular state title contenders in their respective classes the last few years.
Oklahoma State football: Emmanuel Ogbah’s Nigerian roots set foundation for potential future as NFL pass rusherAug 27, 2015
Although it might seem worlds away now, as Ogbah prepares for what could be his final college football season, his humble roots set the foundation for a potential future in the NFL.
Oklahoma State football: Emmanuel Ogbah’s Nigerian roots set foundation for potential future as NFL pass rusher
BY KYLE FREDRICKSON | Aug 27, 2015STILLWATER — Emmanuel Ogbah has a Superman complex. One day, he wears a collared shirt and black-rimmed glasses while downplaying reporters' questions about his football talent with short answers that credit teammates and coaches. The next, he wears pads and a helmet while terrorizing opposing quarterbacks as one of the top-rated defensive ends in all of college football. “I'm quiet and laid back,” Ogbah said, “but when I put that helmet on, I feel like it's time for action. You have to go hard.” Like Clark Kent, Ogbah's journey to super-human status began in the unlikeliest of places. His planet Krypton just happens to be Lagos, Nigeria. Although it might seem worlds away now, as Ogbah prepares for what could be his final college football season, his humble roots set the foundation for a potential future in the NFL. “I have some vivid memories,” he said. Ogbah, one of five siblings, was raised in a gated community, comparable to a U.S. city suburb, in the southwest corner of Nigeria on Africa's western coastline. His father, Richard, was an assistant bank manager and his mother, Regina, was a shop owner. Ogbah ran with a crew of neighborhood kids in an environment he called “more wild and free” compared to a typical American childhood. Barefoot soccer games in the street were commonplace, and Ogbah played goalie and defenseman. “Playful, extremely energetic, fun to be around and always laughing,” said Kingsley Ogbah, an older brother, when asked to describe Emmanuel in those days. “Me and him were extremely close.” But when it came to school and church, Ogbah's parents held strict standards of excellence where mistakes were often corrected with corporal-style punishment. “Emmanuel was raised in the fear of God like my other children,” Richard Ogbah said. “We instilled in them that hard work makes your dreams come true. I always remind them to remember whose child they are wherever they go.” His son listened. “I think I carry the lessons I learned back then, because my dad always taught us to respect people, to respect elders,” Ogbah said. “That's really helped me out.” The family moved to Houston, where a cousin had previously relocated, when Ogbah was just 9 as his parents sought a better life for their children. But they never could have guessed football was in Ogbah's future. In fact, they didn't know the game existed until after arriving in the U.S. Ogbah was hooked after playing with friends in seventh grade and immediately excelled. “I knew he would be doing something in sports,” Kingsley Ogbah said. “He was too gifted.” But that didn't mean Ogbah received the green light to further pursue football. His parents were concerned it would draw too much attention from his academics and that health risks associated with its violent nature were simply too great. “Especially my mom,” Ogbah said, “she didn't want us playing — even though we would go sneak out and play.” Good thing Ogbah never got caught. His parents learned to appreciate the life values the game promotes that mirrored their own beliefs just as Ogbah blossomed into a star at George Bush High School. He earned district MVP honors his senior season, leading his team to its first-ever playoff victory, and chose a scholarship at OSU over Arizona, Texas Tech, Houston and others. Once he arrived in Stillwater, it didn't take long for defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer to identify Ogbah's maturity. “We're all a reflection of how we're raised,” Spencer said. “The kind of person you are is usually formed in kindergarten years. You learn how to share. You learn how to be respectful and not be selfish. His upbringing is very evident. “He doesn't say anything. He's never turned down a rep in the weight room or a workout. He's never been late to a practice. I've never seen him on a class miss list. He's always competed. I've never seen him get on to other guys. I've never seen him be that kind of guy.” Ogbah jumped into the national spotlight after twice sacking Heisman Trophy-winning Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in the season opener last year. With nine more to close the season, he became the first player in the Mike Gundy coaching era to tally double-digit, single-season sacks. Ogbah went on to be named the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year. In May, ESPN NFL Draft expert Todd McShay predicted Ogbah would be the fifth overall player off the board in 2016. “You're always glad a kid like that is on your team and in your locker room,” offensive tackle Zach Crabtree said. “All the things that are being said about him, you honestly can't tell it's gotten to him at all. To us, he's the same Ogbah. He's the same guy that was there when I came in as a true freshman and he was a second-string defensive end. He hasn't changed at all.” Ogbah took a moment to reflect on his journey Thursday, just one week before he'll take the field against Central Michigan to begin his junior season. What would life be like had he stayed in Nigeria? Richard Ogbah said he relocated his family because of an unstable economy and government mismanagement of resources. It was writing on the wall for what would take place in his native country years later. Nigeria became the center of worldwide attention in 2014 following an Ebola outbreak and the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls by a jihadist terrorist group. Although life in the U.S. has been a blessing, Ogbah hasn't forgotten where he comes from and how it's shaped him. “I live every day thinking everything happens for a reason,” Ogbah said. “I still have family back there. I can eventually help them out.”
Oklahoma State football: Defensive quality control coach Eric Henderson plays key role in recruiting down-south talent to StillwaterAug 26, 2015
Through the 2010 to 2012 recruiting cycle, OSU picked up three players from the combined states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia. From 2013 to 2015, the Cowboys landed 11 players from the same region.
Oklahoma State football: Defensive quality control coach Eric Henderson plays key role in recruiting down-south talent to Stillwater
BY KYLE FREDRICKSON | Aug 26, 2015STILLWATER — Drive about four hours in any direction from Boone Pickens Stadium and you're in the heart of Oklahoma State's recruiting base, a focus area reflected by the high volume of Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas natives on the Cowboys' roster. “Outside of that,” receivers coach Kasey Dunn said, “there better be some sort of connection.” Examine OSU's recent recruiting success, and it's clear a new region outside that circle is gaining steam. Through the 2010 to 2012 recruiting cycle, OSU picked up three players from the combined states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia. From 2013 to 2015, the Cowboys landed 11 players from the same region. A handful of factors over the years have contributed to that uptick and OSU's national appeal — including a BCS Bowl victory, flashy new uniforms and renovated facilities — but there's another under-the-radar reason why so many more southeast standouts are coming to Stillwater. Meet defensive quality control coach Eric Henderson: the 32-year-old New Orleans native who specializes in turning Cajuns into Cowboys. “The momentum down there,” Henderson said, “is on fire.” Henderson, who joined the program in 2013 as a graduate assistant, was a three-time All-ACC defensive end at Georgia Tech from 2003 to 2005 where his position coach was current OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. After spending three years with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free-agent, Henderson sought out a coaching career and it wasn't long before Spencer came calling with a graduate assistant opportunity at OSU. “I got him here as soon as I could,” Spencer said. “That's my guy.” Henderson arrived on campus a natural recruiter. Spencer called it “that juice” and he identified it back in Henderson's playing days. His charisma was put to use as a player liaison in the efforts to land Georgia Tech commits, including future NFL All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson, when recruits visited campus. Now, pair that personality with real-world experience at the college and pro level and it's easy to imagine why prospects and their families are drawn to Henderson. “He's got great people skills,” Spencer said. “He can get with that mom, and they'll love him before the day is out. He's just got that personality.” What separates Henderson's recruiting tactics from other assistants is his relatability to young men in Louisiana and the surrounding states, because few have such deep understanding of the culture. By the time Henderson was a seventh-grader in New Orleans, he lost his mother to cancer and his father had faded from the picture. He was cutting class and engaging in street life that sent so many of his peers down a dark path. “We all wanted things that we couldn't have, we couldn't afford,” Henderson told The Macon Telegraph newspaper in 2004 when he was a junior at Georgia Tech. “We'd see things that everybody has, and you want to be able to get everything. I tried my best to keep money in my pocket.” From those roots, Henderson blossomed into an NFL caliber defensive end. It's a story that resonates with the players he recruits. Henderson is also in the process of receiving a Master's Degree in psychology at OSU — learning concepts he can apply on the job. “When you're a Louisiana guy, it's a little bit easier to be able to develop relationships with the kids, the family, the coaches out in high school,” Henderson said. “It's a loyal recruiting base. A lot of people don't understand that. … We can get guys out of the inner city if they're pretty good players down there that fit our program. People want to come to Oklahoma State and it's awesome.” Henderson has transitioned from a GA to a defensive quality control coach this season, which will limit his recruiting and on-field coaching role. But his impact on the program continues to be wide ranging. One of the top surprises of fall camp was the play of true freshman Jalen McCleskey — a 5-foot-10 receiver from Covington, La., — a player Henderson recruited to Stillwater who is expected to play this fall. Henderson also earned the respect of OSU defensive leaders in senior cornerback Kevin Peterson and sophomore defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. “I see Coach Spencer as like a father figure, well, more as a grandfather figure,” Peterson said. “Then, I see Coach Henderson as kind of like an uncle. You can relate to him and the same respect level is there. At the end of the day with Coach Henderson, we can make some jokes that we couldn't make with Coach Spencer.” Added Ogbah: “He's been where we're at. That's why we listen to him. He's been in the NFL, so he was giving us tips on how to get there.” Henderson called his time at OSU “a complete blessing” and credits Spencer with his continued development into what he hopes is a long-time coaching career. Head coach Mike Gundy said he believes it's only a matter of time before Henderson is making another leap in the profession. “He could be a full-time coach,” Gundy said, “and he will be soon.”
Aug 25, 2015
Jarwin has done plenty right in his three-plus years at Oklahoma State, rising from way off the radar as an unknown walk-on to what appears to be a significant role in the offense’s intriguing new position of “Cowboy back.”
Oklahoma State football: Blake Jarwin's relentless drive puts him in focus
By John Helsley | Aug 25, 2015STILLWATER — Cowboys senior David Glidden sat engaged in an interview, entertaining as always, only to pause midsentence to redirect attention across the room. And to nudge the reporter with a story tip. “If you’re looking to do a story on somebody,” Glidden said, “go do a story on Blake Jarwin. He’s the definition of doing the right thing.” Jarwin has done plenty right in his three-plus years at Oklahoma State, rising from way off the radar as an unknown walk-on to what appears to be a significant role in the offense’s intriguing new position of “Cowboy back.” Getting here, from there, reveals a path with a simple enough storyline: hard work. Except nothing about Jarwin’s work ethic is simple. Seems among teammates, Jarwin is known as “Rob Glass’ boy.” A bit of ribbing, for sure, yet also a full-fledged compliment and a show of respect considering the renowned workout demands of Glass, the program’s speed, strength and conditioning guru. “Jarwin is definitely Coach Glass’ golden boy,” said Jeremy Seaton, another in OSU’s group of Cowboy backs. “But I mean, Blake deserves it. I’m not kidding, he’ll outwork everybody in the weight room. There’s not a single guy who’s going to work harder. “It’s all self-made. Everything he’s done, he’s earned.” Therein lies a better descriptive on Jarwin: self-made. But then, that’s the way it had to be. Jarwin played out of position — out of necessity — as a senior at Tuttle High School. Injuries crippled Tuttle’s offensive front, so Jarwin slid from tight end to tackle, despite his 6-foot-4, 195-pound size. “I had to play tackle, which was fine,” Jarwin said. “I got to help the team out.” Self-made and selfless. “Blake was going to be an outstanding tight end for us and we had to move him to offensive tackle,” said Phil Koons, Jarwin’s coach at Tuttle. “He didn’t complain a bit. He played his tail off on both sides of the ball. “I mean, just a great, great team player.” Jarwin had opportunities for football scholarships out of Tuttle, yet all with smaller schools. Not OSU. Still, Tuttle keeps producing prove-it Cowboys. From Josh Henson to Cooper Bassett to Dawson Bassett, a trail has formed. And with some urging, Jarwin followed. “Cooper Bassett is a hometown hero,” Jarwin said. “Dawson, his little brother, is also here. I remember after they won the Big 12 and went on to win the Fiesta Bowl, Dawson was in the locker room telling me, ‘Why wouldn’t you just go try something like that. Yeah, you can go play at one of these D-II schools, or you can go play in front of 60,000 fans every Saturday night.’ “I think that kind of made my mind up for me.” Then Jarwin had to get started changing minds. Not that it would be easy. After playing out of position at Tuttle, OSU didn’t even have his position when he showed up in the summer of 2012, reporting to pick up his gear. “I was getting my pads and they said, ‘What position do you play?’” Jarwin recalled. “I said, ‘Tight end.’ "They were like, ‘We don’t have any of those.’” Jarwin redshirted in 2012, yet got noticed when coaches asked him to play the role of Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein on the scout team heading into the team’s game against the Wildcats. “I got an early break,” he said. “It was pretty fun. I got to do some of the stuff he used to do. So I got to show off some run talent there. And I’ve been able to get some other opportunities since then.” First, Jarwin had to make his opportunities, beginning with Glass in the weight room, where he transformed his body, bulking up to now stand 6-5, 242 pounds. “Probably the biggest things that stand out with Blake, number one, his approach is relentless in the way he trains,” Glass said. “His desire to be successful is just phenomenal. Sometimes, when guys are that driven, we see these kinds of remarkable gains in development. “Blake’s desire, it’s just unwavering. Every day it’s so steady and so consistent. Some kids kind of vacillate up and down throughout their years. But this guy, he’s spot on every time he comes in.” Most Cowboys grow to appreciate the results of the Glass regimen, although not without some grumbling. Jarwin embraced it. “I just like to do what people tell me to do,” he said. “Coach Glass, I owe him everything. He’s built me from the day I came in and weighed 205 pounds. I’ve put on almost 40 pounds now. I’m grateful for everything he’s done for me.” More reason for gratitude arrived last month, when Mike Gundy announced moments before the team’s first preseason practice that Jarwin, offensive lineman Brad Lundblade and linebacker Chad Whitener would all be placed on scholarship. “I think I’ll remember that for the rest of my life, that whole situation, the whole day,” Jarwin said. “I just can’t be more grateful.” But then, Jarwin made that happen, too. Last season, as a redshirt sophomore, Jarwin played in every game, starting against West Virginia and Baylor. He caught five passes for 107 yards on the season, which may sound modest, except the Cowboys still hadn’t committed to frequent use of a tight end, let alone the Cowboy back package destined to become a major piece of the offense. And, Glidden insists, Jarwin should thrive with more of a regular role. “Once he got out there and had a real opportunity to show himself, I think he opened a lot of eyes,” Glidden said. “That, along with his work ethic, it’s not something you find very often. “Blake Jarwin is just a freak athlete. The guy’s an animal.” Self-made, and now focused on growing his game. Jarwin’s lasting memory from last season was his only touchdown, a 47-yard catch and run on a crossing pattern against Texas Tech. “I think about that touchdown all the time,” he said. “My dad, everybody we meet, he shows them that picture. I get all embarrassed, but I’m just glad I had the opportunity to make a few plays last year. “And I hope I can make more.”
Aug 23, 2015
Taylor’s play so far has mirrored his approach.
OSU football: Vincent Taylor ready for his big moment
BY JOHN HELSLEY | Aug 23, 2015STILLWATER – Vincent Taylor’s big, broad shoulders handled the weighty test of spring, then readied for even more of a load this preseason. Taylor, already in focus as a replacement for one of two defensive tackle voids, felt added pressure when Vili Leveni – another projected starter up front – was lost to a season-ending Achilles injury before the calendar flipped to August. And, again, Taylor didn’t flinch. “It means somebody else has to step up,” the third-year sophomore said. That’s been his attitude since last season ended, creating one of the team’s few major story lines: identifying new starters at the tackle spots, where James Castleman and Ofa Hautau started every game in 2014. A significant concern for many, for Taylor the starter search offered opportunity. “I don’t really feel it because we have a lot of players, along with myself, that can help out,” Taylor said. “But it is something where you always want to be in the big moment. And I want to fill the shoes.” Taylor’s play so far has mirrored his approach. After a spring in which he stamped himself as key core player up front, Taylor has continued his improvement leading up to the Sept. 3 season opener at Central Michigan. “I just wanted to pick up where I left off,” he said. “I got in the film room. I worked to get stronger and worked on the little things.” If bicep bulk is any indicator, Taylor’s massive arms confirm the work in the weight room. At 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, Taylor looks the part. As a redshirt freshman a year ago, he played in 10 games, contributing 13 tackles, including 10 unassisted stops. A four-star recruit by ESPN, which pegged him as the nation’s No. 24 defensive tackle recruit in 2013 out of San Antonio’s James Madison High School, Taylor’s progress in the program has been steady. And now it may quicken, partly due to need, but also due to readiness. Still, the tackle spots are far from settled, with game production necessary to officially take the position off the watch list for OSU. That goes for Taylor, too, along with the even more inexperienced candidates of Motekiai Maile, Eric Davis, Ben Hughes and true freshmen Darrion Daniels. “There’s a lot of guys rolling in, and it’s a work in progress,” said Cowboys defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “You’ll see a play or two, and you’re like, ‘Alright, that’s nice. Good pad level, and you’re snatching off a block.’ The other times it’s, ‘Geez, you gotta line up, not getting low enough.’ “It’s up and down right now. That’s not what you want. So it’s going to be a work in progress to try to develop at least three guys that you feel good about. And sometimes, bad things might happen, and you gotta make up for it.” The loss of Leveni impacted depth and even put Daniels on the radar to perhaps play in his first season. Leveni, who played in every game last season and contributed 16 tackles, was considered a rising star. “It was a huge hit for us, a tough loss,” said Cowboys defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. “We were really counting on Villi to step up and take that place.” Others will have to be counted on instead. At the other spot, at least there’s Taylor. “I’m ready,” he said.
Aug 20, 2015
It wouldn’t be fair to compare Jeff Carr to Tyreek Hill, OSU’s diminutive Bedlam star who was dismissed from the team last December for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. Not fair, but let’s do it anyway.
Tramel: Has Oklahoma State found another mighty mite?
By BERRY TRAMEL | Aug 20, 2015STILLWATER — Mike Gundy got a call at home a few days before signing day last February. Was told that a tailback from Temple, Texas, might be interested in being a Cowboy. So Gundy grabbed one of his sons, had him pull up the prospect on the computer and right then and there, two generations of Gundys decided Jeff Carr was good enough to play Big 12 football. Even if he was only 5-foot-6. Six months later, the Gundys’ reputation for talent evaluation hasn’t taken a hit. Four true freshmen are expected to play immediately for the 2015 Cowboys — flanker Jalen McCleskey, safety Kenneth Edison-McGruder, defensive tackle Darrion Daniels and the tailback who had no major offers until the final week of recruiting. “We’re going to give him maybe 12-15 plays that we think work to his advantage and not force feed it all to him early,” Gundy said. “But we’d like to have him up and running by the middle of October. We’ll just have to see how it goes. He’s done really well to this point.” It wouldn’t be fair to compare Carr to Tyreek Hill, OSU’s diminutive Bedlam star who was dismissed from the team last December for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. Not fair, but let’s do it anyway. Hill was listed at 5-foot-8, was a sprint champion in track and played both tailback and wide receiver, effectively, for the Cowboys. Carr probably isn’t that tall, probably isn’t that fast and probably isn’t that versatile. Probably. “He’s fast, man; he sure looked fast today,” State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said after a Thursday scrimmage. The comparisons to Hill are natural. Hill was listed at either 5-8 or 5-9 on OSU rosters, which means he most likely was 5-7. Carr’s been listed anywhere from 5-6 to 5-9 in recruiting literature, and OSU lists him at 5-7. Let’s go with the mean and make it 5-7 1/2, then subtract an inch because everyone fudges. Carr’s probably about 5-6 1/2. Which makes him about 10 1/2 inches shorter than his quarterback. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. As far as I’m concerned, the shorter the better for OSU tailbacks. Barry Sanders was 5-8. Dantrell Savage was 5-8. Kendall Hunter was 5-7. “Jeff, he really finds his way in there, working through the tackles,” said 6-foot-4 QB Mason Rudolph. “He’s done an awesome job so far. Jeff’s a real quiet dude, but he’s really come in, gotten after it, soaked up all the teaching and all the instruction from the coaching. He’s done an awesome job. He’s done well.” Carr’s height helped hide from more than defensive lines. Recruiters were slow to migrate his way, even though Temple made Texas’ Class 5A-I state championship game last December. Size had to be the reason; same with McCleskey, who arrived on campus in June weighing 147 pounds. “It’s interesting,” Gundy said. “Those were two guys, weren’t as heavily recruited as other players in our class and other classes in our conference, and they end up being the guys that look like they’re going to compete in the first game. They were very, very lightly recruited. They made plays in high school.” Hill became a triple threat for OSU. Vertical, on deep passes. Horizontal, on sweeps and screens. And runs straight up the middle. The Cowboys won’t ask Carr to do that, at least not yet and maybe never. “I think you could move him around,” Yurcich said. “You have to be careful with him, because he’s so young. We have to teach him the base, then grow as we go with time. But he’s a guy that’s very good in space. Could you motion to empty (the backfield) with him? I’m sure you could. He could line up at receiver and be just fine. He’s got a nice set of hands. He’s a smart guy … he could pick it up. So eventually, you could do those sorts of things. But again, you have to be very careful with what you’re asking him to do, because of his youth.” This OSU offense looks promising. Improved offensive line. The quarterback of its dreams. Lots of playmakers. Tyreek Hill would have made it even better. But Jeff Carr is a nice consolation prize, no matter how tall, or short, he may be. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
Aug 19, 2015
As I write this, the temperature is 61 degrees. High today is expected to be 64. It is Aug. 19. None of those figures are misprints. The last several days have been unusually cool, and today is historically cool, which is a break for football players in August camps. Coaches don’t have to be careful today, whether they’ve got their players in morning workouts or have to wait until after school....
Cool weather not the only break for football players
Berry Tramel | Aug 19, 2015[img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]3779973[/img] As I write this, the temperature is 61 degrees. High today is expected to be 64. It is Aug. 19. None of those figures are misprints. The last several days have been unusually cool, and today is historically cool, which is a break for football players in August camps. Coaches don’t have to be careful today, whether they’ve got their players in morning workouts or have to wait until after school. OSU has started classes. OU starts next week. Many high schools have already started. Others start Thursday. But the worry about heat has changed. Football programs are much more cognizant of keeping their players hydrated and healthy. In Stillwater, sounds like it’s become a science. “We have an advantage with our facility,” Mike Gundy said. “We have them outside and really push them to the limit, then we'll bring them inside to finish practice. Myself and Coach (Rob) Glass, Kevin (Blaske), the medical staff, Bill Clay, Darrell Wyatt and some guys that are watching practice are trying to keep an eye on the players and get a good feel for where they're at. “We've got the GPS system now where we're tracking them so we can get a feel for where their bodies are. We're going to have enough heat to push them to the limit. We had some two-a-days or some preseason practices before where it was a little cooler than we wanted because we weren't sure we could push them, but this is allowing us to push them and then bring them back inside and revitalize them with fluids.” That’s a far cry from 20 years ago, when Howard Schnellenberger, even before his first game, got crossways with OU president David Boren over treatment of players. Two Sooners, Brian Ailey and Aaron Findley, were hospitalized for heat stroke. Schnellenberger defended his practices and water allotment by saying it was Bear Bryant’s way. You can read here Jason Kersey’s blog from last week on the 20th anniversary of those Sooners being hospitalized. We’ve come a long way from 1995. Science. Common sense. Coaches attuned to such issues. And indoor facilities that change everything.
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys land verbal pledge from 2016 defensive end Jonathan Marshall, a former TCU commitAug 19, 2015
Oklahoma State received its second 2016 defensive line commitment in two days after Jonathan Marshall — a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive end from Shepherd High School (Texas) — flipped his pledge from TCU to the Cowboys on Wednesday. On Tuesday, OSU landed a commitment from Tramal Ivy, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end from Butler Community College (Kan.). Marshall is a football, basketball...
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys land verbal pledge from 2016 defensive end Jonathan Marshall, a former TCU commit
Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 19, 2015Oklahoma State received its second 2016 defensive line commitment in two days after Jonathan Marshall — a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive end from Shepherd High School (Texas) — flipped his pledge from TCU to the Cowboys on Wednesday. On Tuesday, OSU landed a commitment from Tramal Ivy, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end from Butler Community College (Kan.). Marshall is a football, basketball and track standout at Shepherd, about 60 miles northeast of Houston. He attended a June football camp in Stillwater, according to GoPokes.com, and tallied 71 tackles (17 for loss), 10 sacks and five forced fumbles last season, per Scout.com. OSU coaches celebrated the commitment on Twitter. Pistols Firing from El Dorado, KS! Welcome to the Family!! #OKState #BeACowboy — Mike Gundy (@CoachGundy) August 18, 2015 // Pistols firing from Shepherd, TX! D-Line is locked and loaded for the future! #GoPokes — Joe Bob Clements (@joebobclements) August 19, 2015 // Marshall is the Cowboys' 14th pledge of the 2016 class and the second defensive lineman. Here's the list as it stands Wednesday. RB Justice Hill — Tulsa Washington HS (Oklahoma) CB Malik Kearse — Fort Scott CC (Kansas) CB Madre Harper — Lamar HS (Texas) QB Nick Starkel — Liberty Christian HS (Texas) CB Rodarius Williams — Calvary Baptist HS (Louisiana) OT Teven Jenkins — Topeka HS (Kansas) WR Dillon Stoner — Jenks HS (Oklahoma) LB Devin Harper — Karns HS (Tennessee) LB Amen Ogbongbemiga — Notre Dame HS (Canada) OT Dylan Galloway — Coppell HS (Texas) RB La'Darren Brown — DeSoto HS (Texas) OT Ryan McCollum — Klein Oak HS (Texas) DE Tramal Ivy — Butler CC (Kansas) DE Jonathan Marshall — Shepherd HS (Texas)
Aug 19, 2015
The 6-foot-6, 310-pound guard out of L.D. Bell High School in Bedford, Texas, earns praise as a future star from OSU insiders.
OSU football Q&A: Jesse Robinson calls Glass workouts a 'good time'
BY JOHN HELSLEY | Aug 19, 2015STILLWATER – Jesse Robinson earned his first start on Oklahoma State’s offensive line as a redshirt freshman in Week 11 a year ago. Now he seems set for a long run as a starter up front for the Cowboys. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound guard out of L.D. Bell High School in Bedford, Texas, earns praise as a future star from OSU insiders. And he’s known for an engaging personality, too, seen in a recent interview with The Oklahoman: Q: How was your summer?A: “It was a good summer. Out there working with Coach (Rob) Glass the whole time, that’s a good time.” Rob Glass workouts, that qualifies as a good time?“It’s a good time being around all these cats. I mean, Coach Glass will get you right.” And all your teammates would agree?“It’s a little hard, but it’s a good time. Bonding with your brothers, it’s all right. It’s all good.” OK, so what’s the most fun thing you did over the summer?“I don’t think I can point out one instance, but really it’s just being with some of my boys on the o-line. We run together as a pack. So being around them all summer, it helps everything be a lot more fun.” You offensive linemen tend to stick together, don’t you?“Oh yeah. We’re a group of brothers, basically. That’s the way you have to be as an o-line. Quarterback is one position. Running back is one position. O-line, we’re five-deep every time we’re on the field, so we’ve always got to run together.” How different does it feel with your position group right now, than say mid-season a year ago?“Oh, man, it’s much different than it was. The attitude and just how we come to practice every day is very different. Nowadays, you’ve got people who are excited to come to practice. Back then, we were going through a slump, things got a little tough on us. Now, you could say it’s a 180-(degree turn) from last year. We’ve got a new coach (Greg Adkins), and everybody is loving it right now.” What’s different about Coach Adkins?“He makes you want to come and play football. He makes it exciting to play for him. You just enjoy being around him. The knowledge he has is incredible. He knows more about football than I could ever dream to know.” Late last season, you guys mixed things up on the offensive line and it seemed to have a real impact. Have you carried that over to this season?“We’re mixing and matching, trying to find the right fit for the season. Coach Adkins has so much experience at what he does, he’s trying guys at different positions, seeing what works best for everybody to see what group is best to put out there for the first game to be successful.” What has it meant to add a veteran guy like Victor Salako as a stabilizer at left tackle?“It’s a big help, because he played two years at UAB and now we have him. He’s a real good dude to have around. And he’s a big ‘ol cat, man. With his experience, he probably won’t have the nerves of some of us in that first game. So it’s good to have him around.”
Aug 19, 2015
Jonathan Marshall – a 6-foot-3, 250-pounder from Shepherd High School in Texas – flipped his pledge from TCU to the Cowboys on Wednesday.
OSU football notebook: Cowboys gain another defensive end commit
BY JOHN HELSLEY AND KYLE FREDRICKSON | Aug 19, 2015Oklahoma State received its second 2016 defensive end commitment in two days after Jonathan Marshall – a 6-foot-3, 250-pounder from Shepherd High School in Texas – flipped his pledge from TCU to the Cowboys on Wednesday. Marshall is a football, basketball and track standout at Shepherd, about 60 miles northeast of Houston. He attended a June football camp in Stillwater, according to GoPokes.com, and totaled 71 tackles (17 for loss), 10 sacks and five forced fumbles last season. News broke via Twitter, with OSU coaches Mike Gundy and Joe Bob Clements both issuing “Pistols Firing” from Shepherd, Texas, tweets Wednesday morning. “I had discussed it with my family and we decided that Oklahoma State was the best place for me to go,” Marshall told GoPokes.com later in the day. Scout ranks Marshall as a four-star prospect. On Tuesday, the Cowboys landed a commitment from Tramal Ivy, a former Muskogee High star who is now at Butler Community College in Kansas. Marshall is the Cowboys' 14th pledge of the 2016 class and the second defensive lineman, joining Ivy. QUOTABLE Cowboys offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich on the competition at receiver: “Ever since I stepped foot on campus here, it’s been good. It’s fun to have talented guys battling for positions and playing time. It keeps them on their A game. It’s fun to be a part of that. I know our quarterbacks enjoy it, because those guys are running crisp hard routes. Competition brings out the best in all of us.” HAMMERSCHMIDT PUTS SAFETIES ON NOTICE OSU safeties coach Dan Hammerschmidt expects Central Michigan to pound the running game in the road opener Sept. 3, despite the potential for change under a new head coach. That puts Hammerschmidt’s safeties in the crosshairs. “We have to be physical, especially in that first game,” Hammerschmidt said. “They’re going to come out hard if they do what they did last year. In smash-mouth football, if you’re a safety or linebacker, you’ve got to be able to taken on a block, come off a block and make a tackle. “We’re going to make plays on balls and things like that when it’s time, but people are going to check out the run game first. That’s where it starts. Stopping the run game, being physical, knocking balls out and make tackles is where it all starts. “It’ll end there, too.” The Chippewas averaged for 155.2 rushing yards per game in 2014, which ranked seventh in the Mid-American Conference. They lost leading rusher Thomas Rawls and his 1,103 yards — 122.6 per game. And there’s been talk of leaning on talented passer Cooper Rush in a more up-tempo scheme. Still, Central Michigan returns promising backs Devon Spalding and Martez Walker, along with Rimington Trophy candidate Nick Beamish at center and Ramadan Ahmeti at left tackle, a pair of senior linemen entering their third seasons as starters. Junior free safety Jordan Sterns led the Cowboys in tackles a year ago, developing a reputation as a hard-hitter and enforcer for the secondary. Sophomore Tre Flowers started six games at strong safety, while sophomores Jerel Morrow and Dylan Harding are in the mix, along with junior Deric Robertson, while true freshman Kenneth McGruder is pressing for a role. “We’re athletic in the secondary, but we’re still fairly inexperienced,” Hammerschmidt said. “We’ve got a couple of guys that have played… we’ve got talent. But we’ve just got to learn how to play and how to be physical.”
Aug 19, 2015
In a showcase of stellar running backs, Norman North’s Quan Hogan, Edmond Santa Fe’s Darran Williams and Tulsa Union’s Tyler Adkins will be on the field Thursday in a four-team scrimmage hosted by Westmoore.
High school football: Star running backs highlight start of football scrimmages
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Aug 19, 2015Oklahoma has some talented running backs in the senior class, and over the course of a couple hours Thursday night at Moore Stadium, you can see three of the best in action. Norman North’s Quan Hogan, Edmond Santa Fe’s Darran Williams and Tulsa Union’s Tyler Adkins will be on the field Thursday in a four-team scrimmage hosted by Westmoore. All four teams will participate in the rapid-fire scrimmage portion of the schedule beginning at 4:30 p.m. Half-games will follow junior-varsity action, with Westmoore and Union meeting at 6:45 and Norman North taking on Edmond Santa Fe immediately after. While it’s the most intriguing scrimmage on Thursday’s schedule around the Oklahoma City area, it isn’t the only exciting matchup slated. Class 6A Division II runner-up Lawton will be at Edmond North, and defending 5A champ Lawton MacArthur will visit McGuinness in what could be a preview of an eventual playoff game. Putnam City North will be at Del City, another 5A contender. In the smaller classes, Millwood will host Centennial and Plainview, and Tuttle will get its only scrimmage action of the preseason with a visit from Cache. Tuttle will begin its regular season on Aug. 28 when Davis comes to town. Friday’s scrimmage schedule offers a better variety, including Carl Albert at Southmoore, and four solid small-school teams in action at Casady. The Cyclones will host Kingfisher, John Marshall and Christian Heritage. Here are some notable city-area football scrimmages this week: Thursday Putnam City West at Deer Creek Putnam City North at Del City Lawton at Edmond North Lawton MacArthur at McGuinness Centennial, Plainview at Millwood Edmond Santa Fe, Norman North, Tulsa Union and Westmoore at Moore Stadium Little Axe at Southeast Cache at Tuttle Friday Crooked Oak, Washington and Holdenville at Bethel Chickasha, Elgin at Blanchard Christian Heritage, Kingfisher, John Marshall at Casady Hennessey at Cashion Western Heights and McLoud at Chandler Clinton at El Reno Meeker, Cushing at Jones Wayne at Lexington Bethany, Harrah at Newcastle Ardmore at Noble Mount St. Mary at OCS Perry at Perkins Enid at Putnam City Carl Albert at Southmoore Norman, Tulsa Edison at Stillwater Choctaw, Shawnee at Tecumseh
Oklahoma State football: Graduate assistant Robby Discher’s gamble pays off in becoming Cowboys’ special teams coordinatorAug 18, 2015
It was prior to the 2014 season and Gundy offered Discher a promotion with the Cowboys — well, a sort-of promotion.
Oklahoma State football: Graduate assistant Robby Discher’s gamble pays off in becoming Cowboys’ special teams coordinator
BY KYLE FREDRICKSON | Aug 18, 2015STILLWATER — Robby Discher was in his late-20s with a full-time job as special teams coach at Sam Houston State when his phone rang. The incoming call with the 405 area code was Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. It was prior to the 2014 season and Gundy offered Discher a promotion with the Cowboys — well, a sort-of promotion. By accepting a graduate assistant position to coordinate special teams at OSU, Discher would jump from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Big 12. But it was also a move marked with serious sacrifice, as a GA’s salary cannot exceed the value of a full-grant-in-aid, full-time student, per NCAA rules. “It was a definite pay cut,” Discher said, “no insurance and all that stuff.” Discher always dreamed of being a college football coach in a major conference, so the former NAIA receiver would take detailed notes about every position group in team meetings at William Jewel College in rural northeast Missouri. Before getting his shot at Sam Houston State, Discher coached quarterbacks and outside linebackers at a small-town high school about 10 miles down the road from his college campus. So, Discher didn’t think twice when Gundy made his offer. “I just thought my best chance of getting a job at this level,” Discher said, “is proving you can do it at this level.” Consider that challenge complete. In December, Discher was named the 2014 Special Teams Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.com — the first ever GA to receive the honor in its seven-year history, voted on by past winners. Under Discher’s direction, the Cowboys returned three kicks for touchdowns. OSU improved 58 spots nationally in opponent punt return average (3.29 yards) from a year ago. Sophomore kicker Ben Grogan improved his season-long accuracy by 18 percent. And Discher did it all with arguably one of the youngest depth charts in all of college football. “At one point on punt, we had eight freshmen starting,” Discher said. “On kickoff, we had nine. That’s pretty scary, because those are cover units.” As one of more than 100 applicants for his position at OSU, Gundy could have easily selected a candidate with experience in major college football. But the on-field results he saw last season were certainly a reflection of Discher’s four-hour interview that sealed his hire. “He was impressive from an Xs and Os standpoint,” Gundy said. “The people that had worked with him said he was a good teacher on the field and he is. He’s very knowledgeable in special teams, players like him, he’s got a little bit of a unique personality. He’s been really good for us. “He’s just like a full-time coach. He does everything other guys do.” In addition to special teams, Discher will also aid receivers coach Kasey Dunn this season as OSU eliminated its inside receivers coach position in favor of hiring Jason McEndoo to coach Cowboy Backs. It would seem Discher has already made an impact on that position group, too. “Coach Discher is cool,” sophomore receiver Chris Lacy said. “He’s funny, because he always brings something about special teams into everything. He’s always got a joke.” It’s likely Discher continues to boost his coaching resume in 2015 as the high number of freshmen special teamers from a season ago return with valuable experience. Gundy added it’s only a matter of time before Discher becomes a full-time assistant at the highest level — with a full-time paycheck, of course. But even then, Discher is prepared for whatever happens next, no matter where his football journey takes him. “I’m very low maintenance,” Discher said. “I could live anywhere. Preferably not cold, but if that’s where the next job takes me, I’m good."
Aug 14, 2015
Except so far in his two seasons with the Cowboys, while Ateman has provided moments, they’ve been just that – moments, brief glimpses of potential and promise here and there, yet little more. And Ateman knows it. And he’s owning it.
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys' Ateman looks to flip the switch
BY JOHN HELSLEY | Aug 14, 2015STILLWATER – Marcell Ateman remains attached to one obvious adjective: big. Big receiver, now at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, with big skills out on the edge in what should be mostly mismatches against smaller cornerbacks. Big hype, as a premium recruit out of Wylie East High School in Dallas, where he hauled in 84 catches for 1,584 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior. Big expectations, arriving two years ago to an Oklahoma State receiving corps in need of identifying its next future star. Big stuff. Except so far in his two seasons with the Cowboys, while Ateman has provided moments, they’ve been just that – moments, brief glimpses of potential and promise here and there, yet little more. And Ateman knows it. And he’s owning it. Now he’s out to change it, with the summer and this preseason of practices creating a renewed buzz on his career. “He’s had a tremendous summer and his focus has been great,” said Cowboys receivers coach Kasey Dunn. “He matured overnight. “I think he’s going to have a great year.” Big words, coming from the man on staff with the highest standards for Ateman, who enters his junior year still looking for his first touchdown catch. Ateman played in every game as a freshman for the Cowboys, twice catching as many as four passes. That output represented eight of his 22 catches on the season, which included 276 receiving yards in a modest debut. Last season, with expectations soaring, Ateman slipped to 20 catches for 268 yards, as his playing time and his targets dwindling as the season progressed. He struck for a career-high six receptions and 130 yards early on against Texas Tech, then had three more grabs the following week against Iowa State. Yet thoughts of a breakout proved only to be a blip, as Ateman totaled but six catches over the final eight games; none in the last three, when the offense and the team surged. So, what’s changed, to reboot optimism all the way to Dunn’s suggestion of greatness? Ateman has changed. “I just feel like I’ve bought into the system,” Ateman said. “Bought into what the coaches tell me. Bought into what they are teaching me. And just going out there and being productive as a receiver; doing things right, instead of not listening and not being coachable. “I had to flip things around and become a more coachable person and player.” And, Ateman said, that involved adjusting to some hard coaching from Dunn. “Whatever you do, whatever he feels like he needs to tell you, he's going to tell you,” Ateman said. “For some people, it's hard for them to take that. Some people learn in different styles of communication. But being around him, you get used to it. But it's good for you. He's a great coach. “My coaches weren't like him in high school. So when I got on to the college level, it was different for me.” Ateman said he made other adjustments, too, like finding the work ethic needed to succeed at the Big 12 level. At his size and with his skills in high school, things come easy. Not so much now, even if the measurables still translate. There’s an expectation of how to work and how to practice. There’s an expectation on the wide receivers to block. Those things apparently were missing with Ateman last season. “Ateman, when he decides to play hard, he’s a big, physical body,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said at the time. “Mentally, he has to come around and understand the importance of practicing hard every day.” Gundy is on board with the optimism accompanying Ateman now, although he’s still on watch. “Marcell needs to perform really well in practices 10 through 20,” he said this week. “He’s done well early (in previous years), and then faded and not been able to push through the tough part of preseason camp.” Ateman – and others – insist this summer prepared him to push not only through camp, but throughout the season. “Marcell, that guy this summer, the work he was doing, you could see the difference,” said senior receiver David Glidden. “You can see the look in a guy’s eye when he’s serious about the game he’s playing. “Marcell is a guy who has a good personality, he’s upbeat and likes to cut up and have a good time. But this summer – and I worked out with him a lot – and now, when we’re going through drills, I like to be with him and I know he likes to be with me, because we’re going to push each other.” The light comes on for different players at different times in their careers, with growth and maturity following no set schedule. It took time for Justin Blackmon. And Desmond Roland. And even Brandon Sheperd. Might Ateman be next? “So far this camp, you can see the difference; the little things, like taking the coaching, and trying to put it on the field the next day, in practice and seven-on-sevens,” Glidden said. “And that’s what the team needs. “I hope that light’s coming on now.”
Aug 9, 2015
STILLWATER – Bedlam returns to Thanksgiving weekend this season, removed from college football’s early-December spotlight. And Mike Gundy is good with that. Mostly. The NCAA recruiting calendar features a “contact period” running from Dec. 1-14, allowing college coaches to have face-to-face contact with recruits or their parents, to watch players compete and visit their high schools. After...
Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy pushes for adjustment to recruiting calender
By John Helsley | Aug 9, 2015STILLWATER – Bedlam returns to Thanksgiving weekend this season, removed from college football’s early-December spotlight. And Mike Gundy is good with that. Mostly. The NCAA recruiting calendar features a “contact period” running from Dec. 1-14, allowing college coaches to have face-to-face contact with recruits or their parents, to watch players compete and visit their high schools. After that, beginning Dec. 15, recruiting enters a month-long dead period. So if you’re preparing and practicing to play that first weekend in December, as the Cowboys have done three of the past four years, you’re missing out on opportunities to make critical personal impressions with prospects. Of course, if a team plays well enough to put itself in the conversation for the College Football Playoff, and isn’t playing alongside the other power conferences engaged in league championship games — this year Dec. 4 and 5 — it misses out on making a more timely impression on the selection committee. So there’s that. “There are two ways to look at that,” Gundy said. “When we have the open date on Thanksgiving and we play (Oklahoma in December), I think it’s good for our conference. I think it’s good for the state. It makes for an interesting game. “But it doesn’t tie in with the NCAA’s recruiting calendar. They give us, let’s say 14 days, to recruit prior to the dead period in December. If you are selling a product to earn a living, and you had to do that to pay the bills, if someone came to you and said, ‘Hey, you only have 14 days to sell vacuum cleaners,’ it would concern you. That’s really what happens, and that’s really the only way for me to answer that question.” Ultimately, Gundy said, it comes down to selling the program to players who will carve out the future for years to come, versus selling that year’s team to the folks on the CFP selection committee in more of a head-to-head showdown with the other power conferences, avoiding being out of sight, out of mind by playing the previous week. For whatever that’s worth. “It just doesn’t fit with the way the recruiting calendar is,” Gundy said. “So, the risk is not good. Somebody is going to see these guys. That’s a contact period. They’re seeing them face-to-face, and we’re not there unless we decide to just go out and recruit and not be prepared for our game that week.” Gundy’s stance on this issue has been consistent. He prefers an earlier Bedlam, although television has dictated otherwise in recent years, wielding its heavy influence on the Big 12’s December games and preferring Bedlam and all its drama. As it is, many of the teams that are winning regularly and playing in December maintain success, so their recruiting must not be suffering all that much. For Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, Auburn, Ohio State and others still, the winning continues on the field and in the homes of recruits. But those are football bluebloods. For some schools — OSU included — recruiting requires more attention, more face time, more work. “I made the suggestion three years ago that they need to adjust the calendar based on what everybody is trying to accomplish,” Gundy said. “There are obviously people up higher than me that don’t see it that way, but why wouldn’t you? The teams that are playing (in December) shouldn’t be cut out of recruiting because they’re playing well and winning. “Other people will say, ‘Well, if you’re winning, it doesn’t matter.’ Well, it does matter. It’s not as easy as they think. So, they need to adjust that calendar to where it fits that weekend for everybody in the country. They could just make it set, and then I think that everybody would want to play that weekend.”
Oklahoma State football: Strength of Cowboy defensive line is on edges while big questions remain insideAug 5, 2015
As OSU enters 2015, the defensive line is marked by both strength and uncertainty.
Oklahoma State football: Strength of Cowboy defensive line is on edges while big questions remain inside
By Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 5, 2015STILLWATER — Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah needed just one game to establish himself among the best pass rushers in all of college football last season. It just happened to be his first collegiate start. Ogbah’s two sacks of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in the 2014 opener at AT&T Stadium likely stunned plenty of OSU fans. But what about Ogbah’s position coach? “I knew he was capable of being an NFL-caliber defensive end,” Joe Bob Clements said. “How quickly it was going to happen? I didn’t know.” Ogbah went on to record the first double-digit sack total (11) in single-season history under coach Mike Gundy and returns as the anchor of OSU’s defensive line. He’s joined by another seasoned veteran on the opposite edge, Jimmy Bean, who is tied with linebacker Ryan Simmons for the most career starts on the entire Cowboy defense (26). However, as OSU enters 2015, the defensive line is marked by both strength and uncertainty. The Cowboys must replace starting tackles James Castleman and Ofa Hautau with a group of untested reserves. And that list of potential candidates shrunk in July when projected starter Vili Leveni underwent season-ending surgery following a summer Achilles tear. “Losing two players like James and Ofa obviously leaves a little bit of a void just because they’re experienced and the toughness they had,” Clements said. “Having what happened to Vili obviously is kind of a punch in the gut going into the season, but that being said anytime something like this happens, guys have got to step up.” On Wednesday, defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer was asked about the overall depth of his front four. “It’s not great in the inside,” Spencer said. “It’s a concern. It’s going to be watched close to see who’s going to be able to play in a game. Those guys are going to have to play with some injury and some pain. I’ve got a few more guys on the outside, but really after the first group with Jimmy and Emmanuel, we’ve got a lot of guys that haven’t played before either. That’s what all these practices are for, to try to establish some depth. As many players as we can get on the bus that are the right players, that’s what we’ve got to do. It might not be many. That’s just the way it is.” Fall camp will determine which defensive tackles — Vincent Taylor, Motekiai Maile, Ben Hughes, Eric Davis and others — will have the opportunity to fill those big shoes inside. Ogbah and Bean will need to remain healthy to ensure another season of quality pass rush for the Cowboys. But there’s no doubting the confidence Ogbah shares with his teammates on the defensive line, especially with how OSU closed last season consecutive wins. “Guys now have different work ethic,” Ogbah said. “I’ve noticed a big difference … I feel like we’ll be as good as we want to be.” Projected starters (height, weight, classification) | Career starts at OSU DE Emmanuel Ogbah (6-4, 275, Jr.) | 13 DT Vincent Taylor (6-3, 300, So.) | 0 DT Motekiai Maile (6-4, 305, Jr.) | 0 DE Jimmy Bean (6-5, 250, Sr.) | 26 Backups (height, weight, classification) | Career starts at OSU DE Trace Clark (6-4, 257, Sr.) | 0 DT Ben Hughes (6-3, 310, So.) | 0 DT Eric Davis (6-3, 295, Jr.) | 0 DE Victor Irokansi (6-3, 240, Jr.) | 0 Future Outlook If Ogbah has another strong showing in 2015 and declares early for the NFL Draft as a potential first-round pick, the Cowboys could be without both their starting defensive ends next year since Bean has just one season of eligibility remaining. But OSU is set to return a strong core of defensive tackles, like highly rated true freshman Darrion Daniels. The Cowboys have yet to receive a verbal commitment at defensive line in their 2016 class, but are in on a number of top prospects — including defensive end Amani Bledsoe of Lawrence High School (Kan.). Bledsoe is the top rated prospect at any position in Kansas and recently tweeted that OSU is among his top-10 school choices. Clements, a former assistant coach at both Kansas State and Kansas, has strong recruiting ties in the Sunflower State. That should make OSU fans optimistic Bledsoe might land in Stillwater.
Aug 4, 2015
Rather than jumping directly into a high intensity up-tempo practice, the Cowboys slowed it down to teach basic practice structures to 22 true freshmen and a handful of first-year transfers.
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys use fall camp opener to break down basic practice structures
BY KYLE FREDRICKSON email@example.com Staff Writer | Aug 4, 2015STILLWATER — Back in 1986, Mike Gundy walked into his very first fall camp practice at Oklahoma State as a true freshman quarterback. Things moved quickly. “You just had to follow the crowd,” Gundy said, “and hope you didn’t get yelled at.” Back in 2012, wide receiver Brandon Sheperd showed up for his first day. “It was like 6 o’clock in the morning,” Sheperd said. “I was late waking up actually, so I was rushing to get over here … it was probably one of the hardest practices of my life to that point.” Last season, cornerback Ramon Richards learned the ropes. “We just got right into things,” Richards said. “It was kind of a rush, honestly.” But things were a bit different Tuesday after OSU wrapped up its opening 55-minute session of fall camp. Rather than jumping directly into a high intensity up-tempo practice, the Cowboys slowed it down to teach basic practice structures to 22 true freshmen and a handful of first-year transfers. “It’s just kind of orchestrating where to go,” Gundy explained. “Imagine your first day of high school, where your locker is and where your classes (are). You’re trying to find everything and when your break is and all that.” Areas of emphasis included simply how to perform each drill and how to avoid getting in the way of others in line after every turn. “It’s more just mental reps with them,” Sheperd said. “You’re trying to get them so once we get into practice we are firing on all cylinders. Nobody running around wondering where they’ve gotta go.” From a coaches’ perspective, pushing one day of learning is a way to cut down on future headaches. While many still subscribe to the old-school mentality of verbal assaults as a form of motivation, Gundy aims for a different approach. “To eliminate screaming and yelling — ‘Get over here! Where are you at?’ — I’ve never really been a big fan of that,” Gundy said. “Today should eliminate most of that.” For more experienced players like projected starting center Brad Lundblade, a sophomore, Tuesday was a good reminder of just how far one can come through the course of a year. But everyone remembers their first time. “I was on scout team, fourth-string, nobody knew who I was,” said Lundblade, who was a walk-on this time last fall to open camp. “It’s kind of nerve wracking coming in on your first day. But once you get out there and get into the swing of things, it flows pretty smooth. … Starting tomorrow, we can kind of hit the ground running.”
Aug 2, 2015
Oklahoma State landed the third offensive line pledge of its 2016 class on Sunday when Ryan McCollum — a 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive tackle from Klein Oak High School (Spring, Texas) — verbally committed to the Cowboys. McCollum announced his decision with a short video on Twitter. "I want to thank all the schools and coaches for believing (in) me to play college football," McCollum...
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys add verbal commitment from 2016 offensive tackle Ryan McCollum
Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 2, 2015Oklahoma State landed the third offensive line pledge of its 2016 class on Sunday when Ryan McCollum — a 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive tackle from Klein Oak High School (Spring, Texas) — verbally committed to the Cowboys. McCollum announced his decision with a short video on Twitter. "I want to thank all the schools and coaches for believing (in) me to play college football," McCollum said. "But most importantly, I want to thank God and my parents. I wouldn't be half the person I am today without them. But I'll be taking my talents to Stillwater." McCollum is a two-star rated prospect according to Rivals and Scout, but was given three stars by 24/7 Sports. His final three schools were reportedly OSU, Houston and Louisiana Lafayette. McCollum received the Cowboys' scholarship offer Tuesday. "When Oklahoma State came in that was a school that I really liked and really had always liked," McCollum told GoPokes.com. "I also got my dates mixed up in that I thought tomorrow was August 10th and I was going to commit before then when practice started. I was ready so I went ahead and committed." McCollum is currently the 12th member of OSU's 2016 signing class, joining offensive linemen Teven Jenkins (Topeka, Kan.) and Dylan Galloway (Coppell, Texas). The full 2016 class (as of Aug. 2): RB Justice Hill — Tulsa Washington HS (Oklahoma) CB Malik Kearse — Fort Scott CC (Kansas) CB Madre Harper — Lamar HS (Texas) QB Nick Starkel — Liberty Christian HS (Texas) CB Rodarius Williams — Calvary Baptist HS (Louisiana) OT Teven Jenkins — Topeka HS (Kansas) WR Dillon Stoner — Jenks HS (Oklahoma) LB Devin Harper — Karns HS (Tennessee) LB Amen Ogbongbemiga — Notre Dame HS (Canada) OT Dylan Galloway — Coppell HS (Texas) RB La'Darren Brown — DeSoto HS (Texas) OT Ryan McCollum — Klein Oak HS (Texas)
Oklahoma State football notebook: First-year assistant coach Marcus Arroyo updates progress of running backsJul 30, 2015
STILLWATER — When Marcus Arroyo was hired as running backs coach at Oklahoma State this offseason, he inherited a position group marked by more questions than answers. With the departure of senior Desmond Roland, the addition of two junior college transfers — Chris Carson and Todd Mays — and the return of two tailbacks with OSU playing experience — Rennie Childs and Raymond Taylor — there has...
Oklahoma State football notebook: First-year assistant coach Marcus Arroyo updates progress of running backs
BY KYLE FREDRICKSON | Jul 30, 2015STILLWATER — When Marcus Arroyo was hired as running backs coach at Oklahoma State this offseason, he inherited a position group marked by more questions than answers. With the departure of senior Desmond Roland, the addition of two junior college transfers — Chris Carson and Todd Mays — and the return of two tailbacks with OSU playing experience — Rennie Childs and Raymond Taylor — there has been much for Arroyo to digest through his first spring and summer on the job. Arroyo gave an update Thursday on where the position group stands entering fall camp. “I know the gains that Rennie made in the spring were really good,” Arroyo said. “He did a really good job of applying himself, the whole room did actually … Their challenge of having me come into the room was big because they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them. They embraced me and I think that was a really cool deal. “Rennie did a nice job of growing throughout and he did a nice job in the weight room. Todd Mays, a junior college transfer, got a little banged up in the spring, but he did a great job. Raymond Taylor did great. Chris I got to see right when he got here before we broke for the summer. He was here for a couple of weeks, and we spent a lot of time just getting to know each other. I’m a big believer in that so we can develop that trust. There’s a lot of really good things about him.” POSITION BATTLES HEAT UP AT PUNTER AND IN RETURN GAME OSU special teams coach Robby Discher spoke with reporters for the first time Thursday since joining the program as a graduate assistant in spring 2014. Discher provided insight on position battles as the Cowboys enter fall camp without two key starters from a season ago: punter Kip Smith and return man Tyreek Hill. Discher says three players are in competition for punts: redshirt freshmen Zach Sinor (Medina Valley, Texas) and Matt Hockett (Norman), along with incoming freshman Lane Reazin (Woodward). “Sinor is very, very talented, obviously he’s on scholarship here,” Discher said. “If he wins the job, I have a lot of confidence in him. “(Hockett) traveled to every game last year. We were able to redshirt him, but he was like our backup everywhere. So if something happened to Kip or something happened to Ben (Grogan), he was going in.” The frontrunners to replace Hill in the return game are much less clear. OSU featured wide receiver Brandon Sheperd on both punts and kicks against Washington in the Cactus Bowl, but a large group of athletes from both sides of the ball will have an opportunity to win the job. “All those guys have been working their tails off catching punts and kicks in the summer,” Discher said. “We’ve probably got 20 guys that want to do it, but you can’t get that many guys reps. It’s going to be five or six guys, then we’ll probably cut it to two or three pretty quick. We’ve got a lot of guys vying for that. I really don’t know who it’s going to be yet. It’s kind of nerve wracking, but exciting.” COULD A TRUE FRESHMAN DEFENSIVE TACKLE CONTRIBUTE IN 2015? When news broke that sophomore defensive tackle Vili Leveni tore his Achilles during summer conditioning and would miss the 2015 season following surgery, a short list of replacements for the projected starter emerged. Sophomore Vincent Taylor and junior college transfer Motekiai Maile appear to be frontrunners, along with the potential for junior Eric Davis, sophomore Ben Hughes and others to contribute. But what are the chances OSU turns to a true freshman to help fill the void? Darrion Daniels, a 6-foot-3 and 320-pound defensive tackle from Bishop Dunne High School (Texas), was among the Cowboys' highest-rated signees of the 2015 recruiting class. In an interview with ESPN earlier this month, Daniels said his goal this season was to "make an immediate impact, come in early and do what I can." OSU defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements was asked Thursday to assess whether Daniels will be in a position to do just that in 2015. "That's a hard question to answer right now," Clements said. "Let's just say this — every practice we have, every meeting we have, every walk-through we have, everything we do is going to be very important for him. That he can handle the information and then carry it out on the field and perform in a manner that can help us win a Big 12 championship. If he can do that, it will determine how big of a role he plays." BY KYLE FREDRICKSON
Oklahoma State football: Defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements discusses potential immediate impact of freshman defensive tackle Darrion DanielsJul 30, 2015
STILLWATER — When news broke that sophomore defensive tackle Vili Leveni tore his Achilles during summer conditioning and would miss the 2015 season following surgery, a short list of replacements for the projected starter emerged. Sophomore Vincent Taylor and junior college transfer Motekiai Maile appear to be frontrunners, along with the potential for junior Eric Davis, sophomore Ben Hughes...
Oklahoma State football: Defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements discusses potential immediate impact of freshman defensive tackle Darrion Daniels
Kyle Fredrickson | Jul 30, 2015[img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]3751344[/img] STILLWATER — When news broke that sophomore defensive tackle Vili Leveni tore his Achilles during summer conditioning and would miss the 2015 season following surgery, a short list of replacements for the projected starter emerged. Sophomore Vincent Taylor and junior college transfer Motekiai Maile appear to be frontrunners, along with the potential for junior Eric Davis, sophomore Ben Hughes and others to contribute. But what are the chances OSU turns to a true freshman to help fill the void? Darrion Daniels, a 6-foot-3 and 320-pound defensive tackle from Bishop Dunne High School (Texas), was among the Cowboys' highest-rated signees of the 2015 recruiting class. In an interview with ESPN earlier this month, Daniels said his goal this season was to "make an immediate impact, come in early and do what I can." OSU defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements was asked Thursday to assess whether Daniels will be in a position to do just that in 2015. "That's a hard question to answer right now," Clements said. "Let's just say this — every practice we have, every meeting we have, every walk-through we have, everything we do is going to be very important for him. That he can handle the information and then carry it out on the field and perform in a manner that can help us win a Big 12 championship. If he can do that, it will determine how big of a role he plays."
Jul 28, 2015
Obata — who went 58-0 in three seasons as a Cowboy — will be inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Monday.
Former Oklahoma State wrestler Yojiro Uetake Obata lives in Japan, but his heart lies in Stillwater
By Kyle Fredrickson | Jul 28, 2015At least once a year for the past four decades he’s boarded a plane in his native Japan and crossed the Pacific Ocean. When he peers out the window near the end of his long journey, the ground beneath is a sign he’s almost made it — home away from home. “There’s the red dirt,” Yojiro Uetake Obata says. “Oh boy, I’m back in Oklahoma.” Uetake will once again make the trip this week for a special occasion. Although he’s spent the majority of his 72 years living in Japan, winning two Olympic gold medals for his country, Uetake will be inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Monday. So, what makes him worthy of sports enshrinement in a foreign land? It’s because Uetake’s development into one of the most accomplished wrestlers of our time began in Stillwater. “I feel very honored about this prize,” he said. “They recognize me as a proud citizen of Oklahoma.” Uetake is the only Cowboy to finish his career undefeated in the storied history of Oklahoma State wrestling. From 1963 to 1966, he amassed a 58-0 record with three individual Big 8 and national championship titles at 130 pounds. He went on to become the first Japanese wrestler to win consecutive golds (1964 and 1968) in the Olympic Games. Today, Uetake coaches wrestling at the high school he graduated from in Gunma, Japan, and helps run his family’s hotel business. But the story behind Uetake’s deep Oklahoma love goes far beyond those accomplishments. It goes back to his very first days on campus, the friendships and lessons learned along the way. “Going to school at Oklahoma State for four and a half years influenced the rest of my life quite a bit,” he said. “In a good way, in many ways.” The stiff language and cultural barriers Uetake faced upon arriving in Stillwater were lessened by the relationships he established with fellow athletes living in Bennett Hall, like Cowboy football players Tim Havern and Walt Garrison. Neither had seen a college wrestling match before watching Uetake dominate on the mat with his speed and relentless attack. “He’s one of the greatest athletes that I ever saw,” Garrison said. Added Havern: “He was sort of our little hero. (Uetake) and his gang were quite the celebrities on campus.” That sparked close friendships, and before long, Uetake was as Americanized as any other student at OSU. He learned to ride horses out in the country with teammates, was given rare permission to watch the Cowboy football team practice and enjoyed the Stillwater nightlife. “I could tell you a couple more memories,” Garrison laughed, “but you probably couldn’t print them.” Uetake moved back to Japan after spending two years as an assistant coach at OSU, but his influence continues in the Cowboy wrestling program even today. “He was not just the greatest wrestler in the state of Oklahoma, he was at the time the greatest wrestler in the world,” OSU wrestling coach John Smith said. “His skill and technique, the philosophy behind what he did, we still do today … it took a lot of coaches years to catch up. “He loves Oklahoma State and he loves Oklahoma State wrestling. That’s never changed.” After Uetake’s plane lands in Oklahoma City this weekend, he’ll stick to a tight schedule to ensure he can make all his favorite Oklahoma stops — the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, an authentic Native American gift shop in Yukon, all his favorite restaurants — before heading back to Japan. But Uetake wants to savor the moment. “I am very appreciative that the people of Oklahoma remember me,” Uetake said, “and accept me as part of Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma State added a second running back to its 2016 recruiting class Monday when La'Darren Brown — a 5-foot-10, 175-pound speedster from DeSoto High School (Texas) — verbally committed to the Cowboys. Blessed & proud to say I'm a cowboy I have officially committed to the University of Oklahoma St @coacharroyoosu pic.twitter.com/4HxkTh7sEW — Ldee Brown ✌️ (@LdeeBrown1) July 27,...
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys receive verbal commitment from 2016 running back La'Darren Brown
Kyle Fredrickson | Jul 27, 2015Oklahoma State added a second running back to its 2016 recruiting class Monday when La'Darren Brown — a 5-foot-10, 175-pound speedster from DeSoto High School (Texas) — verbally committed to the Cowboys. Blessed & proud to say I'm a cowboy I have officially committed to the University of Oklahoma St @coacharroyoosu pic.twitter.com/4HxkTh7sEW — Ldee Brown ✌️ (@LdeeBrown1) July 27, 2015 // Brown missed the majority of his junior season last year with a dislocated elbow, but has gained plenty of recruiting traction throughout summer with impressive combine performances. Brown clocked a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at an Alabama football camp, according to Scout.com, and then went sub 4.4 in Stillwater, according to GoPokes.com. "Speed, all day speed," Brown told Scout when asked about his strengths. "My versatility. You can just put me anywhere on the field." Rivals lists Brown as a two-star rated all-purpose back and Scout tagged him as a three-star rated athlete. Brown holds scholarship offers from Arizona State, Oregon State, SMU and Louisville. Three days after OSU extended its offer on June 14, Brown told GoPokes what stood out about his time at camp in Stillwater: "The drills were good and I really liked the facilities. The fields are beautiful and the indoor is really nice. I liked it all." Brown is the second running back and 11th overall player verbally committed to OSU's 2016 signing class. Where the list stands today: RB Justice Hill — Booker T. Washington HS (Oklahoma) CB Malik Kearse — Fort Scott CC (Kansas) CB Madre Harper — Lamar HS (Texas) QB Nick Starkel — Liberty Christian HS (Texas) CB Rodarius Williams — Calvary Baptist HS (Louisiana) OT Teven Jenkins — Topeka HS (Kansas) WR Dillon Stoner — Jenks HS (Oklahoma) LB Devin Harper — Karns HS (Tennessee) LB Amen Ogbongbemiga — Notre Dame HS (Canada) OT Dylan Galloway — Coppell HS (Texas) RB La'Darren Brown — DeSoto HS (Texas)
Jul 27, 2015
NASCAR veterans Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace will compete Tuesday night at the Longdale Speedway, which is on Highway 58 in the northwest corner of Blaine County, between Fairview and Canton. Longdale Speedway runs International Motor Car Association series, and Wallace and Schrader are scheduled to compete against local drivers. And how I know all this is a good story. At least to me. You...
Northwest Oklahoma travelblog: How I made it to Longdale
Berry Tramel | Jul 27, 2015[img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]3746730[/img] NASCAR veterans Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace will compete Tuesday night at the Longdale Speedway, which is on Highway 58 in the northwest corner of Blaine County, between Fairview and Canton. Longdale Speedway runs International Motor Car Association series, and Wallace and Schrader are scheduled to compete against local drivers. And how I know all this is a good story. At least to me. You can learn a lot by getting in your car and getting out of town. A week ago Friday, I took a road trip to a section of Oklahoma I rarely see but always enjoy. The grandfather of our man Jacob Unruh died, and his funeral was in Cherokee, which is about 20 miles east of Alva. We call Jacob “Virgil” for reasons that are a mystery to me, but we think the world of Virgil and wanted to make sure he knew we were thinking of him. So three of us were able to break away to make the 21/2-hour drive to the service. High school editor Darla Smith, sports web editor Erik Horne and myself. We also gave a ride to Virgil’s wife, who is in nursing school, had some business in OKC that morning and needed a ride to meet her husband. So we launched off from Northwest Expressway and away we went. Out to Okarche and onto Highway 81 north through Kingfisher, Dover, Hennessey, Waukomis and Enid. Darla’s a life-long Yukon gal, so she’s been all over the state, but Erik the Red is from Louisiana and hadn’t been past Okarche. So we gave him an educated tour of that region and eventually gave all of us an educated tour of that region. I always build up Okarche and Kingfisher as my favorite small towns in Oklahoma. Okarche as my favorite tiny town — 2,000 or less population — and Kingfisher as my favorite small town. I just love their feel and their pride. Both are well-kept. Cool, old houses. Not a bunch of shabby homes and buildings falling down. Not every place is spit-shine, but no place, home or business, is a dump. At least from what you can see. A few months ago, I went through Davis, down in southern Oklahoma, and was reminded that Davis can give Kingfisher a run for best small town above 2,000 population, but still, Kingfisher is a cool place. And Erik was duly impressed. We built it up, and Kingfisher delivered. Dover has a better setting, with more trees lining the little town, but it’s run down. Hennessey is a solid town but isn’t quite as well maintained. Not much to Waukomis to maintain. Driving through Enid was fun. For such a big place — population in the 50,000 range — I rarely make it up there. We drove past the Plainsmen’s football field, where Lydell Carr and PJ Mills and Austin Box and Clint Chelf starred, and I should have driven Erik the Red over to the downtown area where Mark Price Arena sits. Enid has to have one of the most unique high school basketball coliseums in America. A civic auditorium, named after an NBA star. Enid’s a lot like Ponca City and Bartlesville, other northern Oklahoma towns that once were the headquarters of major oil companies. Phillips in Bartlesville, Conoco in Ponca, Champlin in Enid. All are big versions of Kingfisher. Well-kept. Lots of pride. Lots of history. Good places to live, if you don’t need a metropolitan city. Champlin was closed in 1984, and Enid has found its footing without a major anchor. The guys in the car made fun of me, because I drew a rough map of our trip. I hate following GPS, or even phone maps, because they don’t give you a big picture. I couldn’t find an old-fashioned road map, so I drew one before we left. Darla made fun of it, took a picture of it and put it on FaceBook. Dirty Rotten Scoundrel. Anyway, north of Enid, I had planned to turn west on Highway 45 and go through Carrier, where my pal Richard Mize recently pastored a Congregational Church, and Goltry and Helena, towns which formed a consolidated school. But I missed that turn, so we went on north and then west on U.S. 64. That took us through Jet and Nash, two more towns that long ago consolidated schools. Not much to Jet or Nash, but I remember from the ‘70s, looking at the scores of Jet-Nash and Helena-Goltry. Now, those two schools and four towns have consolidated into one school. The elementary school is in Jet, the high school is in Helena. It’s 20 miles from Nash to Helena, so that’s a fair drive. But it’s the truth of western Oklahoma. Diminishing population, schools trying to survive. My only knock on Timberlake is the name. Where’s the timber? There’s no timber in northwestern Oklahoma. The lake, I sort of get, since the Great Salt Plains Lake sits just north of Jet. But Timberlake is a good name for a school in Little Dixie or Green Country. How about Salt Plains High School? Or Big Sky High School? Oh well. Driving along U.S. 64, you see Great Salt Plains Lake off to the north. At least you think it’s the lake. It might be the shimmering selenite crystals that form part of the shoreline. The saline content is perhaps a quarter that of ocean water, and the crystals are unique to the area. Visitors dig for the crystals, and Oklahoma maintains a state park as part of the lake. It’s a little like Little Sahara, which is one county over from Alfalfa, in Woods County, between Woodward and Alva, and has magnificent sand dunes that attract motorcycle riders. Barren territory that suddenly draws people. Sand dunes, salt lakes. Oklahoma is an interesting place. Anyway, we drove on into Cherokee and found complete charm. Great small town. Some cool old houses. A good-sized grocery store. Some small businesses. A couple of neat churches. Alfalfa County courthouse. And way more trees than you’d expect in northwest Oklahoma. I seemed to remember that Cherokee had a downtown movie theater that famously burned some years ago. We found a storefront that seemed like it could have been the theater, but I couldn’t be sure. I forgot to ask anyone, and I couldn’t find anything on the Internet, so maybe I’m mixed up. Anyway, Cherokee was a great little town. The service at the First Baptist Church was nice. Virgil spoke about his grandfather and did a great job. A men’s quartet sang, and the four men produced beautiful harmony on both “How Great Thou Art” and “It Is Well With My Soul.” First off, you can’t miss with good material. Two of the top five songs of all-time, and I might be short-changing them. Add in quality voices, then touch it off with the endorsement of Jehovah himself, and it was riveting. I’m not kidding around. It started raining a little as we arrived in Cherokee, and it was raining pretty good when we got out of the car. During the service, it started storming. And I swear, when the quartet sang the first verse of “How Great Thou Art,” at the very point when they belted out “I hear the roaring thunder,” the skies boomed with thunder that shook everyone in the sanctuary, both physically and spiritually. It was the darndest thing. We paid our respects to Virgil, then headed out. I was determined to go home a different way, see more stuff, and it didn’t take us long. I went south out of Cherokee and hooked up with Highway 8. I wanted to go through Fairview, a decent-sized town that I had never visited. We went through Cleo Springs, not much there, but north of Fairview, we passed another Oklahoma jewel — Gloss Mountain. We saw in the distance, off to the west, some beautiful mesas. Didn’t know what they were but eventually found out. The Gloss Mountains, sometimes called the Glass Mountains, according to travelok.com, have a high selenite content that mimics a shiny glass exterior. There’s a state park at Gloss Mountain, with hiking trails, and spectacular scenery. Let me promise you. The landscape in northwestern Oklahoma is underrated. Now you know why they call it Fairview. I had never been to the Major County seat, which has a population of about 2,500. But Fairview had a good football program in the 1980s, and I sort of always followed the Yellowjackets. Plus, I had an extra reason for going. A few years ago, at Mike Gundy’s kickoff golf tournament in Stillwater, I ran into a guy I once knew. Todd Smith played football at Norman High, graduating in 1983, and went to OU on a football scholarship. I covered that 1982 Norman team, and I lost track of Todd after that. But there he was at Karsten Creek that day. Turns out he married a Fairview girl and was running his father-in-law’s car dealership in Fairview. The father-in-law was an OSU booster, so here was an ex-Sooner, at the Gundy Invitational. I enjoyed seeing Todd and told him I’d stop in if I ever was in Fairview. And so I was in Fairview. Todd runs Jensen’s Buick-GMC dealership. It’s a great old art deco building, with lots of vintage signs. Alas, Todd was not in the office, so I left him a note and we were on our way. Fairview seemed like a nice place. Not quite up to Kingfisher’s standards, I’d say, but livable. They’ve got a Sonic, a Pizza Hut and a Taco Mayo. Fairview probably is like much of western Oklahoma, in that it is reeling a little from the oil bust after the great oil boom that created a housing shortage. In Cherokee, we saw a sign for dorm-style lodging that could house 60 workers. But until the price of oil bounces back, that demand has weakened. Fairview actually has three car dealerships. Jensen’s Buick-GMC, Eischen’s Chevrolet (don’t know the relationship to the Okarche landmark) and Vinton Baker Ford. Any place with three new car dealers has something going for it. Leaving Fairview, I was going to go east on Highway 58, then jog back south to Okeene, because going south out of Fairview veered west and was out of the way. But before we turned around, I saw a mileage sign. Longdale 13. And my heart leaped. I swear. I try not to be too sentimental. But I got all fired up. Longdale is where my dad coached high school basketball in the 1950s. I had heard him talk about Longdale all my life, but I had never been there. I knew it was close to Canton, and I once thought about trying to go through Longdale on the way home from Colorado, but it was out of the way, and everybody was tired. So I told Darla and Erik the Red. We’re going to Longdale. Longdale High School is long since closed. I think in the ‘70s. The elementary school closed in 1991. My impression of Longdale was as a ghost town. That nobody and nothing would be there anymore. But I was wrong. Longdale still lives. It’s got a population just under 300, with a couple of gas station/convenience stores and quite a few houses. And the gymnasium still stands. The Longdale gym looks like an old WPA project — heck, it is an old WPA project, we found an inscription — but on the north end is painted a huge mural detailing the history of Longdale. The gym is locked up, but it was cool to walk around the place where my dad coached 60 years ago. We snapped a few pictures, then we were on our way. Seems like in the ‘70s, when I was a kid, some guys from Longdale that had played for my dad dropped by the house, the morning of an OU football game. My dad died in 2007; how I wish I had made the trip to Longdale with him. Anyway, back to NASCAR. As we left Longdale, there suddenly appeared a race track. Glittering. New. I’ve passed a bunch of Oklahoma dirt tracks, and none of them stood out like this. We were stunned. We had no idea what it could be or why it would be. But Darla looked it up on that FaceBook machine of hers, and there came the news. Longdale Speedway. Home of regular racing. Hosting Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace on July 28. Turns out, Longdale Speedway is thriving with local racers from all over zipping into town to race on most Saturday nights. Our adventure was mostly over. We drove down to Canton, hit Highway 51 and took it east through Okeene, which I had been to recently. I showed Darla and Erik the Red the great spires atop the St. Anthony Catholic Church. You can’t believe it. Looks like something you’d see in Italy. Then we drove south to Watonga, east back to Kingfisher and finally we were backtracking. We stopped in Okarche at the Popcorn Station, a popcorn store that sits on the north side of the road that runs through Okarche and separates Kingfisher and Canadian counties. Eischen’s Bar, home of the world’s greatest fried chicken, actually is in Canadian County. Then it was back down Highway 3, which becomes Northwest Expressway and the city that seems far removed in more than just miles from Cherokee and the Great Salt Plains Lake and art deco Buick dealership and the old gymnasium where my dad coached 60 years ago. Quite an adventure for a summer’s day.
Jul 26, 2015
The small sample sure was impressive, with Rudolph directing Bedlam and bowl wins and pumping optimism into 2015 as perhaps the Big 12’s most intriguing quarterback.
Oklahoma State football: All eyes fixed on Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph
BY JOHN HELSLEY | Jul 26, 2015STILLWATER – For all the unbridled gushy expectations attached to Mason Rudolph, and in turn this Cowboys season, Mike Gundy offers a gentle reminder: “He’s only played three games." And Gundy is right, although the small sample size sure was impressive, with Rudolph directing Bedlam and bowl wins and pumping optimism into 2015 as perhaps the Big 12’s most intriguing quarterback. Rudolph looks the part, at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, with a big and accurate arm. His credentials are strong, too, from his high school standout days as a premium recruit to his initial exposure in three games late last season. Still, there’s at least a little curiosity about what’s next for the sophomore. And that’s not limited to outside the program. As soon as last season ended, eyes remained on Rudolph, to see how he’d respond to his instant success. “I watched. I observed,” said senior receiver David Glidden. “I’ve always been a guy who observes things going on around me, especially going into my senior year, it’s a big year for me, whether we’re going to make a bowl game or not. “Yeah, I want to look out for my teammates for one, but I want to see how they handle themselves at the same time.” Rudolph, after all, is now entrusted with a hefty part of Oklahoma State’s near and extended future, installed as the No. 1 quarterback, even with former starter and senior J.W. Walsh back healthy after a mostly lost 2014 season. And life changed dramatically for Rudolph in his first year on campus. As of late November, he remained under wraps as a Cowboy, seemingly embedded as a redshirt and the QB of the future. But with Walsh out as the starter and replacement Daxx Garman battered and dealing with concussion symptoms, Rudolph was needed. “Flip of a switch,” Glidden said. “That’s what it was.” OSU was mired in a four-game losing streak at the time, and Rudolph’s first start, at Baylor, saw the skid reach five. Still, Rudolph played well enough to spur hope in Waco. Then came the upset of Oklahoma and the bowl win over Washington, elevating Rudolph to big man on campus almost overnight. That can be a lot to handle for a kid just 19 at the time. “So did I watch him? Yeah,” Glidden said. “And I’d say he passed with flying colors.” Still, eyes will be firmly fixed on Rudolph going forward, although there’s less curiosity now inside the Cowboys camp. “I think the challenge for him was in the offseason,” said Gundy. “Everybody was looking for him to be a leader and to continue what he started. I think he’s handled it well over the summer.” Glidden is eager to see how Rudolph handles the next step, and how high it goes. “For him, it’s as good as he wants to be,” Glidden said. “If he wants to be that good, he’ll be that good.” Projected starter (height, weight, classification) | Career starts at OSU Mason Rudolph (6-4, 230, sophomore) 3 Backups (height, weight, classification) J.W. Walsh (6-2, 215, senior) 10 John Kolar (6-4, 190, freshman) 0 Future outlook Rudolph is the present and the future, with three years of eligibility remaining. If he excels, there’s the possibility that he could jump to the NFL following his junior season, considering the premium on quarterback play in the pros. Still, that’s assuming a lot at this point. OSU has never had a quarterback declare early for the NFL. Walsh is a senior, so his career is coming to an end. John Kolar, a true freshman from Norman North, enrolled early and went through spring drills with the Cowboys, impressing coaches. He’s a redshirt candidate for 2015. OSU currently claims a commitment from prep quarterback Nick Starkel out of Liberty Christian High School in Texas. Starkel is a three-star prospect and the No. 5 quarterback in Texas by Scout.com.
Jul 20, 2015
Junior linebacker Levi Draper verbally committed to OSU, becoming the first commitment of the 2017 class. And he’s certainly a big catch.
OSU football: Collinsville junior Levi Draper verbally commits to Cowboys
BY JACOB UNRUH | Jul 20, 2015COLLINSVILLE — Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer doesn’t usually follow head coach Mike Gundy’s lead on Twitter when welcoming a new commitment. Spencer was fired up Monday, though. “Shots heard across the nation, ‘Pistols Firing’ from Collinsville, OK,” he tweeted. “Cowboys got better today.” Junior linebacker Levi Draper verbally committed to OSU, becoming the first commitment of the 2017 class. And he’s certainly a big catch. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound four-star recruit holds nearly 20 Division I scholarship offers already — including schools like Alabama, Clemson and Florida State. “The kid is just a can’t-miss kind of kid,” Collinsville coach Kevin Jones said. “He’s absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of kid at a smaller-level high school. I know we’re a 5A school, but we’re still a small town. It’s not like we’ve got a lot of Division I kids rolling through here.” The last Collinsville player to sign a Division I football scholarship was Ryan Garrett, who signed with Tulsa in 2002. Draper just fits the mold of a Division I player. Not only does he have the frame, he has the speed and strength. He runs a 4.58 40-yard dash. He bench presses 325 pounds and squats around 400 pounds. It’s a product of his family owning a gym, but also his desire to get better on the football field. Since about the fifth grade, there hasn’t been a camp he and his family have turned down that they could make. He also played in the Eastbay All-American Bowl as part of Team USA as a freshman just months after he took over the starting role in Week 5 and led Collinsville to the state semifinals. “We used it as a tool to get better,” Draper said. “We’ve been doing stuff like that since I’ve been younger. It’s always been a goal of ours. We work hard to make myself a better football player. It’s been a goal of our whole family and we’re just thankful.” Last season, he totaled 115 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery while leading Collinsville to the state quarterfinals. It didn’t take long for his whirlwind recruitment to begin. Draper toured the country during his recruitment. He visited various schools, including Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State and Oklahoma. Still, he always knew OSU — which offered in May — was going to be one of his top schools. For the past three weeks, he’s been leaning toward the Cowboys. He brought his family on his second visit to Stillwater on Monday, this time sending the Cowboys to Big 12 Media Days with possibly the biggest junior commitment in Gundy’s tenure. “That’s where I felt most comfortable and it feels like a family there,” Draper said. “My family loves it and that’s where I feel like I fit best, so I made the decision. The last step was getting my whole family down there and letting them see it. Then I was ready. “I was thankful for every opportunity I had. Every one of them was exciting. They were all big-time offers. In my mind there was no reason to put it off. I knew where I wanted to play.”
Super 30: Jenks safety Austin Quillen's SEC opportunity a direct reflection of work ethic, playing styleJul 15, 2015
At 6-feet and 195 pounds, Quillen wondered how far his talent might take him at the next level. Could he contend in what’s widely considered the nation’s top college football conference? “Looking at myself as an SEC player?” Quillen reflected. “That didn’t hit me until Vanderbilt offered.”
Super 30: Jenks safety Austin Quillen's SEC opportunity a direct reflection of work ethic, playing style
Kyle Fredrickson | Jul 15, 2015JENKS — Austin Quillen established himself as one of the state’s top football prospects with a playing style that matched his intensity. The senior Jenks safety earned a reputation as a workout warrior and it transitioned to his play on the field. “That’s probably, to me, his strongest suit,” Jenks coach Allan Trimble said. “He’s just a tenacious kid.” But still, at 6-feet and 195 pounds, Quillen wondered how far his talent might take him at the next level. Could he contend in what’s widely considered the nation’s top college football conference? “Looking at myself as an SEC player?” Quillen reflected. “That didn’t hit me until Vanderbilt offered.” Quillen accepted the challenge and committed back in April. “The secondary coach from Vanderbilt just loves him,” Trimble said. “He fits their mold. He’s a hard hitter and a great open-field tackler. He’s very instinctive, and they’re not worried about the size thing as much.” Trimble — who has known Quillen since he first attended Jenks football camps in his early elementary days — says those talents are only strengthened in the spotlight. “He’s had a couple of amazing moments,” Trimble said. “He always plays well in the big games.” A good example? When Quillen was just a sophomore, Jenks battled Owasso in the state playoffs. Late in the fourth quarter, Owasso put together a comeback drive that threatened the Jenks lead. Enter Quillen, who laid a monster hit that jarred the ball loose and sealed a victory on the road to a state championship. “He also knocked himself out cold,” Trimble said. Added Quillen: “I remember the game. I don’t remember that play.” As Quillen looks forward to the opportunity before him at Vanderbilt, he understands the process ahead. There are no guarantees he’ll contribute immediately his first season, but he’s hoping to increase his chances by putting in the necessary work. “It’s all about how much weight I can put on and what size I can get,” Quillen said. “For now, they’ve talked about using me in a Nickel package my first year and then moving me to safety.” Quillen called the Vanderbilt campus and facilities “beautiful” and says the coaching staff “really sealed the deal” for him. But for now, his main focus is what lies ahead this fall — the opportunity to win a fourth-consecutive state title. “It really hits you how fast life moves,” Quillen said. “Three years have already gone by and I’ve got three trophies, three rings with my team. It would be such a disappointment to fall short in my fourth and last year.” -- No. 12: Austin Quillen School: Jenks Height: 6-0 Weight: 200 Position: Safety Committed to: Vanderbilt (April 12) -- The Oklahoman’s Super 30 recruit rankings for the state’s high school football class of 2016 will continue on Friday with No. 10 on the list. Here are the last five players we’ve written about: 15. Quan Hogan, RB, Norman North, 6-1, 210 14. Kyle Mayberry, DB, Tulsa Washington, 5-11, 170 13. Jordan Brown, WR, Stillwater, 6-3, 195 12. Jeremy Lewis, RB, Lone Grove, 6-2, 200 11. Austin Quillen, S, Jenks, 6-0, 195
Oklahoma State football: 2016 quarterback commit Nick Starkel misses cut at Elite 11 finals, but gains something moreJul 11, 2015
A former Super Bowl winning quarterback said he might be among the best pure passers in the history of the Elite 11, the nation’s premier invite-only quarterback camp since 1999. High praise from Trent Dilfer to 2016 Oklahoma State commit Nick Starkel. But as night fell Saturday on the final day of camp at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., and the 18-member quarterback class was cut...
Oklahoma State football: 2016 quarterback commit Nick Starkel misses cut at Elite 11 finals, but gains something more
By Kyle Fredrickson | Jul 11, 2015A former Super Bowl winning quarterback said he might be among the best pure passers in the history of the Elite 11, the nation’s premier invite-only quarterback camp since 1999. High praise from Trent Dilfer to 2016 Oklahoma State commit Nick Starkel. But as night fell Saturday on the final day of camp at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., and the 18-member quarterback class was cut to a true Elite 11, Starkel failed to make the cut; despite climbing the leaderboard early in the six-day camp and surpassing prospects with more recruiting stars. So, how did Starkel — a 6-foot-3, 185-pound, rising senior at Liberty Christian High School (Argyle, Texas) — reflect on the experience? “My identity is not in football,” Starkel said. “It’s something more than that.” While much of the national spotlight, including live coverage on ESPNU, focused on the athletic talents of the highly touted prospects headed to top programs across the county, Starkel shined in the equally important aspects behind the scenes. Paul Meyerberg, national college football writer for USA Today, explained. “He’s probably the most popular quarterback of the group,” Myerberg wrote on Wednesday, “as well as the quarterback most likely to take the time to congratulate scout team wide receivers — local kids assigned to thanklessly run hundreds of routes — after a nice reception. That Starkel has shined at every stage of the process has really impressed the coaches.” Although Starkel might have been viewed as more of a long-term project player than some of his peers at the Elite 11, there was no questioning his maturity. “I was trying to be the leader that I am when I’m on my own field,” Starkel said. That was evident on day one when Starkel and Columbus, Ga., prospect Jawon Pass competed in an unorthodox challenge. In pairs of two, campers were required to build a Lego helicopter with provided instructions. Once completed, campers ran to the other side of the field to disassemble the model. After a series of quick workouts, they ran back to the starting point with a new goal: reassemble the helicopter, and this time, with just a picture off the box as a reference. Starkel and Pass placed first among pairs of Elite 11 participants. “They’re testing our leadership skills and they’re testing our problem solving skills,” Starkel said. “How we would react when things didn’t go that well.” The camp also showcased guest speakers, including a sports psychologist. That’s what Starkel was referencing in his earlier quote about what defines him. “The sports psychologist said, ‘Listen, if you find your identity in football, that’s not right,'” Starkel said. But make no mistake. The camp wasn’t light on teaching the intricacies of the game, too. With Dilfer at the head, quarterbacks were immersed in new playbooks and given technical training. Starkel said he arrived at the camp with a narrow throwing stance, but left with a wider, stronger base. “I learned a lot about the game, reads and progressions,” Starkel said. “They helped us identify coverages and all that, as well as footwork.” Now, Starkel is looking ahead to his senior year with visions of a deep playoff run. But he also has a trip to Stillwater planned. During the 7-on-7 portion of camp, Starkel linked up with Devin Duvernay, a wide receiver from Sachse High School (Texas) with an OSU scholarship offer. Starkel plans to be his Cowboy tour guide. “They really want him,” Starkel said, “and I really want him there.”
Oklahoma State is in the running to land a verbal commitment from Isaiahh Loudermilk — a 6-foot-7, 260-pound, 2016 lineman from Howard, Kan. — who recently told Scout.com that Kansas State and the Cowboys are currently his top-two schools. Loudermilk is one of the Sunflower State's top talents, despite playing 8-man football at Howard West Elk High School. He's the No. 4 overall prospect...
Media report: 2016 Kansas lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk names Oklahoma State in top two
Kyle Fredrickson | Jul 1, 2015Oklahoma State is in the running to land a verbal commitment from Isaiahh Loudermilk — a 6-foot-7, 260-pound, 2016 lineman from Howard, Kan. — who recently told Scout.com that Kansas State and the Cowboys are currently his top-two schools. Loudermilk is one of the Sunflower State's top talents, despite playing 8-man football at Howard West Elk High School. He's the No. 4 overall prospect (according to Rivals) and the top defensive tackle prospect (according to Scout) in Kansas. Loudermilk stars on both the offensive and defensive line and discussed where the Cowboys envision him playing in the college game. From his interview with Scout: "Oklahoma State has everything," Loudermilk shared. "That was an amazing visit. They have great facilities, and I loved all the coaches. I met some of the players. They really stood out. I was very comfortable there. They like me at defensive end or offensive tackle. I like defense a little more but I'll play anywhere I'm asked." Although Texas remains OSU's top recruiting ground, the Cowboys have established a Kansas pipeline in recent years. Since 2010, a number of top prospects from the state have landed in Stillwater: running back Joseph Randle (Wichita Southeast), cornerback Devin Hedgepeth (Derby), defensive end Trace Clark (Wichita Collegiate) and safety Jerel Morrow (Emporia). OSU coach Mike Gundy explained the reason for that trend to The Oklahoman back in October. “Kansas (high school) football has gotten considerably better and has more players that have done well in college than what people think,” Gundy said. “So we’ve put a little more time into that area.” If Loudermilk picks OSU, he'll be the second Kansas player in the 2016 class, joining offensive tackle Teven Jenkins (Topeka). More from his interview with Scout: "Oklahoma State has told me how bad they want me apart of their class," Loudermilk noted. "It's good for them that they have Teven (Jenkins) committed. I would say that's a very good things for them. I'd have familiarity there. A few Kansas guys on the team would be good for me. I'd get to know them much easier." Loudermilk currently holds double-digit scholarship offers from schools like Arizona State, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Jun 27, 2015
Ogbongbemiga, of Calgary, Alberta, is second cousins with OSU defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah.
OSU football: Cowboys land verbal commitment from Canadian linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga
By Kyle Fredrickson | Jun 27, 2015Back in the mid-2000s, a pair of second cousins and native Nigerians played street football with a group of young boys in their Houston-area neighborhood. The rules were simple. Two-hand touch on the concrete. Every man for himself on the grass. That’s how Emmanuel Ogbah and Amen Ogbongbemiga developed their love of the game. “I would always play with them, no matter what,” said Ogbongbemiga, the younger cousin. “That was a big part of my childhood.” Now, it appears the duo will reunite on a real playing surface in Stillwater. Ogbongbemiga, a linebacker, verbally committed Saturday to Oklahoma State’s 2016 recruiting class following in the footsteps of Ogbah, the Cowboys’ returning All-Big 12 defensive end. And it was the cousin connection that set the wheels in motion. “(Ogbah) got me the opportunity,” Ogbongbemiga said. “He told his coaches, ‘This guy is the real deal.’” Although they share common roots, Ogbongbemiga’s path to OSU featured a unique twist. One year before Ogbah graduated from George Bush High School in 2012, Ogbongbemiga’s family relocated to Canada (Calgary, Alberta). He tallied 104 tackles, four forced fumbles and three sacks as a junior last season to lead Notre Dame High School to its third-straight Provincial Tier 1 Championship — on a Canadian field that measured 65 yards from sideline-to-sideline, more than 10 longer than NCAA specifications, against lesser competition compared to the Texas prep powerhouses Ogbah and many other Cowboys faced. “It could be an advantage and a disadvantage,” Ogbongbemiga said. “In Canada, you’ve got to be more of a sideline-to-sideline runner. In America, you’ve got to get downhill. But football is football, no matter where you’re at.” His high school coach, Dave Diluzio, says Ogbongbemiga might be the first player from Calgary to play at a NCAA Division-I program in at least 10 years. Ogbongbemiga also held a scholarship offer from Nevada and received interest from Notre Dame, Rice, Ohio and others. “It’s obviously a tremendous feat for him,” said Diluzio. “I think it’s going to be a seamless transition, just because he’s a good competitor. His athleticism is really going to help him. He’s so multifaceted. Because of his football IQ, we were able to do a lot of unique things on defense.” Ogbongbemiga, 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds, is no stranger to making adjustments. He currently plays MAC linebacker, a position that requires quick thinking on the fly. But a stronger example is simply his life journey. Ogbongbemiga was born in Nigeria and moved the U.S. when he was just four. Eight years later, he left for Calgary. And in about 12 months, he plans on being back in the states. “He’s definitely wise beyond his years,” Diluzio said. “We obviously have a lot of immigrants in Canada, but we’re at a point now where it’s a lot of second and third generation people coming to our country. For him to do that move twice, from Nigeria to the US and from the US to Canada, it’s really made him mature.” Added Ogbongbemiga: “It shows me the diversity of the world and how different cultures are in different places. I’m not so narrow minded about anyone now.” Any transition concerns clearly weren’t an issue for OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. After Ogbah notified the coaching staff of Ogbongbemiga’s talent, he flew in for a summer camp. On June 14, he received a scholarship offer. “I had to go to a camp and I had to work hard to get that scholarship offer,” said Ogbongbemiga. “Once I got it, I kind of knew where I was going … Coach Spencer is a great guy. He told me that I’m going to have to work hard. It’s not just going to be a walk in the park.” As OSU fans learn more about Ogbongbemiga, who has an older brother and sister, one question remains. How did he get the name Amen? He explains. “It’s actually a funny story,” Ogbongbemiga said. “I was named that because my mom and dad wanted me to be the last child. Like, ‘Amen, I’m done.’ Turns out, I am the last child.”
Jun 25, 2015
Reader responses to our Bob Barry Jr. tributes have been overwhelming. I thought I would share some with you: Bill Khourie: “Just finished reading your piece on BBJ and yes, so many thousands felt like they knew him and knew him well. I lost my only son over Christmas break while in his last year at OU, Jan. 6, 2009. Many of his friends started a memorial golf tournament and banquet to honor...
Readers lament the loss of Bob Barry Jr.
Berry Tramel | Jun 25, 2015[img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]3714772[/img] Reader responses to our Bob Barry Jr. tributes have been overwhelming. I thought I would share some with you: Bill Khourie: “Just finished reading your piece on BBJ and yes, so many thousands felt like they knew him and knew him well. I lost my only son over Christmas break while in his last year at OU, Jan. 6, 2009. Many of his friends started a memorial golf tournament and banquet to honor his life and his dedication to his younger sister that he dearly loved. She was born with a very rare syndrome that drastically altered her life. She graduated as a special education student, but her brother took her to the senior prom so she could enjoy the same experience as the other high school students. It was her only time to ever experience a prom. My son was an SAE at OU. BBJ caught wind of the event from SAE alumni and volunteered to emcee his memorial banquet fund raiser without compensation. I had never met him. However, when I introduced myself at the beginning of the banquet, I stuck my hand out to shake, but instead, he gave me a hug and said, ‘As a parent, my heart bleeds for you and I pray God will bring healing to you and your entire family.’ He asked to meet Billy's sister and mother to express his condolences to them as well. His kindness, compassion and generosity was only a part of what made him such an incredibly special husband, father, friend and professional. When my wife and I heard the news Saturday, like so many thousands, we were crushed. Even thou we only got to meet and spend time with him on the one occasion, we felt like we lost a loved one. Yes, you are correct, Berry, the condolences offered by thousands were perhaps for ourselves as well. He may have departed our Earthly life, but his incredible spirit, special smile and kindness to all will continue to loom larger than ever as he and Bob Sr. are broadcasting to a new audience.” Sounds like Bobby. I know he was a loyal SAE alum and was dismayed at the actions of the SAE knuckleheads earlier this year. Bobby also was dismayed at David Boren’s swift rebuke of the fraternity, closing the chapter and the house on the OU campus. Bobby believed that the actions of a few shouldn’t offset the actions of the many. Brent Taliaferro: “Very nice article yesterday — a good tribute. His smile and warmth came through the radio.” I agree. Bobby didn’t have the most provocative radio show. But he might have had the most pleasant. It’s kind of difficult to describe, but the melodic rhythm of Bobby’s voice served to almost relax the sports radio listener. Which is against the grain. Jim Snow: “I have loved your coverage on the loss of Bob Barry, Jr. I think many people, including me, forget how tight the sportscasting fraternity is. The unfortunate thing about losing BBJ is that he was not able to see and receive the accolades that were bound to come his way (even on top of what he has already received). He could have so easily ridden the coattails of his dad, but that was not his style, and you know that far better than me. I am sure that Crossings (church) will be standing room only come Friday. I feel so much for his wife and family. Such a premature loss. I am sure that there will be a lot of weeping on Friday, but I pray that BBJ’s service will truly be a celebratory one.” It is a shame that we wait until such a time as this to tell people how we feel. But maybe BBJ has had an impact on us. I did almost three hours of radio on the Sports Animal with Craig Humphries and Al Eschbach on Monday, and as we left, Craig told me that he loved me. Ben McCain: “Just watched your tribute to Bob Barry Jr. It touched me. You nailed it! My brother, Butch, and I worked with Bob and his dad for several years at Channel 4. We always had a good time on the air and off the air with both of them. They were great broadcasters and great people. Seems like we always ended up laughing about something when we talked to Bob Jr. When I think of Bob Barry Jr., I think of laughter and good feelings. That’s not a bad way to be remembered.” Butch and Ben McCain. The brother duo that news and weather and a variety of entertainment shows at Channel 4 from 1981-87, and at Channel 5 from 1987-94. They’ve been gone from the market 21 years. Gone from KFOR for 28 years. And yet they worked with Bob Barry Jr. That is a stout legacy. Jari Askins: “Count me among the many of your readers who say ‘well done’ on the tribute to BBJ.” Yep. The former lieutenant governor was a big fan of BBJ. More from NewsOK Tramel: I wish Bob Barry Jr. had stayed off 'the death machine' Wright: How Bob Barry Jr. kick-started my career What they're saying about the death of Bob Barry Jr. Carlson: People loved Bob Barry Jr. because he loved people Kevin Durant on Bob Barry Jr.'s death: "It just wont' be the same" Tramel: Fans came to know the real Bob Barry Jr. Verl Brorsen: “I remember when Junior came to Perry some years back playing on a Channel 4 basketball team against some put-together locals for a community fundraiser. He was raining in threes that night like an NBA 3-point champ. He had a great time loving every minute of it.” The Foul Shots, they called their team. I actually saw Bobby play high school basketball team. He was the seventh man in a six-man rotation at Norman High School, but he in all fairness was a solid player on a really good team. State semifinalist as a senior. Left-handed, and liked to shoot. Had quite the flair for fashion, even on the basketball court. Patty Cox Hampton Roloff: “I've enjoyed your writing regarding Bob Barry Jr. In the mid 1970s, Oklahoma City was on the verge of losing professional baseball. My late husband Bing and I appealed to the local sports media to help us find an investment group that would insure that the OKC 89ers would not just survive but thrive in the coming future. Having known Bob Barry Sr. ince our school days, he and other broadcasters jumped on the bandwagon, and our attendance at All Sports Stadium soared from 42,000 in 1975 to over 250,000 per season for the next 15 years. Bobby Jr. followed in his dad's footsteps, not just as an excellent broadcast journalist, but as an avid supporter, booster and true fan of local high school, college and minor league teams throughout the state. A hole was left in my heart after the passing of Bill Teegins, Volney Meece, Bob Hersom, Jerry Park, Bob Sr. and now Bobby Jr. I am thankful that our mayor, Mick Cornett, who was a friend and colleague of all of these great men, exemplifies what they all knew and believed: that no city becomes a great major League city without first being a GREAT minor league city. Bobby Jr. didn't just report Oklahoma sports news but made fans of Oklahoma sports teams in and out of the state through his enthusiasm, knowledge and love of Oklahoma athletes, coaches and administrators. My family's condolences go out to Bobby’s family, friends, colleagues and all of the people who watched, loved and will miss his broadcasts. He was a true ambassador of this great state and will always be greatly missed.” Patty and Bing Hampton indeed rescued baseball in the mid-‘70s. Interesting to know the credit she gives the media for the success of the 89ers. Larry Freeman: “Since Saturday, I have been in absolute mourning — for a man I never met. Your article was astute: we offer condolences not necessarily for you but for us. Bob Barry Jr. was pure joy....excitable...always optimistic. I always wanted to PROTECT him. Never have him change. Hated when people attacked Bob Barry Sr. in great part because I knew it would hurt his son. Loved the way he treated ALL people (just like his dad). Bottom line is this: for better or worse, you guys in the media are in our homes, our cars, our lives. You have been with us so long in great part, because we trust you. You are like family to us. Our connection to the sports world, and it hurts when something like this happens to family.” Exactly. And trust this, Larry. Most of us know it. Most of us know that we have a sacred trust to live up to. Bobby knew it for sure. Bill Plummer: “Excellent piece this morning on BBJ. Like father, like son. Bob was one of a kind and what a great loss. He will be missed by many people. Perhaps his high school would name an award or have a scholarship in his name. I would gladly donate to it.” Norman High School in BBJ’s day certainly was a bastion of future Oklahoma sports media. Dean Blevins was a ’74 grad. BBJ ’75. Me in ’79. Mike Steely, now with The Franchise, in ’81. Heath Holt: “Everybody here at the office is still in shock from the news of the passing of Bob Barry Jr. It is hard to believe that we won’t hear his Oklahoma twang voice over the airwaves each day. Just unbelievable. Most times when a person leaves, they just get replaced by somebody else and everything just keeps on rolling. Sometimes, though, it is just a loss. Things aren’t as good as they were before and we just live with less than we had. Bob Barry Jr. is one of those people that won’t be replaced. Several of us University of Texas graduates that reside around Oklahoma City and Norman feel that loss as well. The passing of Bob Barry Jr. isn’t just a loss for the state of Oklahoma, it is simply a huge loss.” I love the phrasing. Sometimes, you just have to live with less. Mike Skinner: “I know Friday will be a long, tough day. Sending a note now thinking there might be a ‘middle time’ of anguish as those close to BBJ felt he would have wanted you to carry on but feeling a group reluctance to be the first to step out to reach toward what might be a ‘new normal.’ All you've said and written is spot on. Senior and Junior were two in a million, yet we see many of these every day in the middle of America and take them for granted. Hoping we are all reminded of that and send more notes of thanks, etc. Hang tough. It's probably a generational thing (being almost 60), but can't help but think that good and greater times are yet to come as we continue to be better from knowing the best and emulating the best.” Interesting idea. We’ve talked incessantly about BBJ the last few days. So what can we learn from him? Enjoying what we do. Treating strangers well. Throwing ourselves into multiple endeavors. Lots of things are on the list. Coleen Adair: “You put into words exactly what I was feeling. That I had lost a friend. I can't even imagine the hurt all of you that knew him are feeling.” I remember something my friend Greg Blackwood said at Bill Teegins’ funeral. Greg was a long-time videographer for Teegins at Channel 9. Greg spoke and told everyone, “all of you who felt like you knew Bill? You did.” Same with BBJ. He was as he seemed. Scott: “Great article on Bob Barry Jr. I had met Bob but didn't know him. Your article described Bob as exactly the person I thought he was.” Thanks. Phillip Cody: “I went to OSU in 1969 to play football. Later on I remember how proud we were when Bob Barry Sr. became the voice of the Cowboys and still remember how heartbroken we were when he went back to the Sooners. Through the years I continued to respect Senior and then found an admiration for BBJ. Like you eluded to in the article, it's hard to be on a radio show three hours a day and not get to know someone. In essence, if you were passing through Oklahoma and happened to click on his radio show, I would guess most listeners would think this dude is all right. Always humble. That's the difference in BBJ and most of his peers. When you really get down to it, he had enough of his pops in him and I presume family, religion, etc., that he was a voice that from that perspective, was just different. From my perspective, it's something we could all learn from. A little less know it all, talk a little less, listen a little more, search others out who know more about what we talk about and be truly thankful for another day on this Earth to get to do it. I've always detested the way OU and OSU boo each other and how little respect can be shown to the ones that play the game. In regards to that lack of respect, the most decent thing OSU ever did was showing our great respect for Senior the last time he came to Stillwater. I know Junior was in that same mold, no doubt a chip off the old block, a very special individual. I also know he will be missed by so many and especially by people like you, who truly knew him.” Junior grew up in Norman and obviously was an OU graduate. But he never aligned himself with the Sooners at the expense of the Cowboys. He would be found at the best game. Or both games, if possible. Bowls for example. I think he had the respect of both OU and OSU fans. R.J. Johnson: “Listening to BBJ made me feel better about myself. He was the face up front for us average Joes who never had much success in sports. On the radio he wasn't the tough guy, the clown, the jerk, or the know-it-all. He just had a good time, treated everyone fair and gave us the inside scoop on the sports world.” I can’t disagree. Pat Ownbey: “Thank you for your article this morning on Bob Barry Jr. I believe you hit the nail squarely on the head. I am originally from OKC but have lived the last 40 years in Ardmore. When I was younger, I worked at KWTV as a film editor while I attended OU. I teamed with Bob Jr.'s brother, Frank, at KGOU. I did play by play and Frank did color. We broadcast several Norman High School games together and most of the time we would see Bob Sr. at some point in the pressbox. During my stint at Channel 9, I went to see Bob Sr. about sports broadcasting. Long story short, I didn't know him, but the moment I walked in he made me feel like he was my best friend. Bob Jr. was the same way. They didn't seem to ever take themselves too seriously in terms of who they were, and they loved people. I saw that over and over again in the times I was around Bob Sr. Most of the time that was a play by play seminar or at the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters meetings. I stayed in the field for more than 35 years, later working as sports director at KXII-TV in Sherman before running and owning radio stations in the Ardmore market. Today I serve as state representative for District 48, in my eighth year. When Bill Teegins died and now Bob Jr., the shock and grief is that of losing a close friend. I made it a point to listen to Bob Barry Jr. on WWLS partly because of his attitude and his knowledge of sports. I really appreciated how he treated others no matter what the caller was like. I believe all of us would like our lives to matter, to make a difference in the lives of others, to touch people in a positive way. I believe Bob Sr. and Jr. have left a mark on many across this country, certainly here in Oklahoma. For me, as a young man, that message translated into treating everyone with respect, everyone matters. Don't take yourself so seriously and enjoy every moment. To many of us, we have lost a friend that can't be replaced. Our prayers go out to Bob's family and those of you who were close to him.” That’s another thing that can’t be replaced. The decades-long roots established by the Barrys. Robert Leslie: “Shocking and a truly sad moment for Oklahoma. You didn’t have to be only a sports fan for it to hit a nerve. Even if you didn’t really know Bobby, you felt you knew him. I knew Bob Barry Sr. better – what a gentleman and nice, classy person – but Junior was cut from the same cloth. My wife actually called Junior before her weight-loss surgery because he’d been through it, too. She said he was so nice and supportive on the phone and answered every single question she, a total stranger, had. It helped her decide also to have the surgery. Just another story pointing out what a good person Junior was.” That’s the thing about a lot of media people. We are accessible. That doesn’t mean we automatically are amenable to that access. Junior was. Robert Heard: “I too am one of those who never met Bob but feel the loss of such a fine and talented sports person. Most every day I looked forward to Bob and Coach Pat on the Animal. They were like a tag-team of greatness. I've learned at 68 that our life is very uncertain and bad things do happen to good people. Bob will be missed for a long time to come.” Jones and BBJ indeed were an excellent combo on the radio. Think about it. Bob Barry Sr. called the games of Jones’ great OSU teams from the 1980s, then Bob Barry Jr. teamed with Jones on the radio for many years. DeLinda Cole: “I wanted to write to express my condolences to you and the Sports Animal staff for the loss of BBJ. I also want to say that the tribute and expression of love and respect that has been shared about him throughout the past two days has been honoring, and I'm quite certain that BBJ is smiling down from heaven with pride. This is a horrible tragedy, but you all have done an excellent job in honoring him.” Thanks. The reaction from the Sports Animal personalities has been very telling to me. I’ve seen and heard things I never thought I would see and hear. And that’s a good thing. Jerry Isbell: “Oklahoma has lost a broadcasting legend and I’m mourning the loss of a dear friend. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Bobby was a rock star. Surely he’d never leave us this soon. He was always the life of the party. Junior never needed sleep or an on-air script. He could ad-lib better than anyone. As a young journalist, Bobby taught me there were only three things to ask… Why, why and why? I can’t figure it out. ‘Why?’ He was killed on his motorcycle as a scumbag with no license, carrying drugs, made a U-turn in his pathway. As always, Bobby was full speed ahead and bringing it peddle to the metal. His heart and peddle were always jammed to the floorboard for us all. That’s why we loved him. I first met Bob Barry Jr. in 1985. I was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma and wanted to be in the TV sports business. But more importantly, I wanted to learn marketing. I realized he ‘had it.’ He knew marketing. I clung to his every move and knew I was watching a legend. Bobby took me under his wings and for some reason liked me. I was an 18 year-old punk from Broken Bow, OK. He treated me like royalty. Why? I made him laugh a lot…he loved to laugh. From scores of chuckles, a great friendship was born. I learned how to ask questions from him. I learned how to work a room from him. I learned how to speak in front of people from him. I learned how to deliver a sales pitch from him. I learned how to love people more… because of him. He always found something great in everyone. Bobby loved people. He craved interaction with others…he needed it like oxygen. No time for ‘downtime.’ He had to hang with folks. His father was the legendary Bob Barry Sr. He was born into Oklahoma broadcasting royalty but never showed it. Bobby worked his tail off. 18-20 hour days…I saw it. He’s helped me immensely through the years. A reference from Bob Barry Jr. was golden. Bobby helped me many times. Anything I needed, he’d do it. We enjoyed hundreds of hours together in news helicopters, satellite trucks, stinky vans and horrible press conference buffets. We spent time together with legends like Gary Player, Barry Switzer, Barry Sanders, Brian Bosworth, Monica Seles and James Garner. I could name drop hundreds more. He connected with them all and they loved him. Why? We last spoke a couple of weeks ago. He’d been wanting to play Cedar Creek Golf Course in Beavers Bend and take his wife to our Mountain Visa cabin. He was planning something great for her…only he knew why. I’ve been fortunate to be around many national media people through the years. None were better than Bob Barry Jr. Especially behind the scenes. He could prepare a sportscast in a matter of minutes. Bobby was lightning fast as a deadline approached. He could work under pressure like none other. There are so many emotions flowing now as tears pound my keyboard. I’d thought several times to tell him, ‘wear a helmet on your motorcycle.’ I was going to tell him the next time we spoke. Why didn’t I tell him sooner? Why did the guy with no license and dope in his vehicle make a U-Turn in front of him? Bobby, you’ve always had the scoop. We’re struggling. We need one last breaking story. Please help us understand ‘why?’” Not really any doubt that BBJ evoked passion and loyalty. Jay Badry: “Having just read of the untimely death of Bob Barry Jr., my heart sank. Of course, I had never met him personally, but he and his dad were such a part of my life as an Oklahoman and a lifetime OU fan. And then I thought of you and others who had a personal connection with BBJ and I can't imagine how this affects you. In the book of James we read that life is like the morning fog that appears for a short time and is soon gone. What a reminder to hold every moment and everyone we love close and never miss a chance to squeeze the very marrow out of life. Certainly, those of us who hope in Christ have assurance of a life beyond this one, yet it's hard to say goodbye, especially when those we love are taken so suddenly.” The suddenness of BBJ’s death is startling. To everything there is a season, but a 58-year-old man still in his prime — Bobby seemed a decade younger — makes us all take stock.
Jun 24, 2015
The former Southmoore offensive coordinator and head coach left the SaberCats for one season to serve as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma Baptist in Shawnee.
High schools: Jeff Brickman's return going well for Southmoore
BY SCOTT WRIGHT AND JACOB UNRUH | Jun 24, 2015Jeff Brickman’s new job is his old job. The former Southmoore offensive coordinator and head coach left the SaberCats for one season to serve as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma Baptist in Shawnee. But Brickman returned to Southmoore in the spring as offensive coordinator under Jeremy Stark, the man who succeeded him as the SaberCats’ head man last year. “It’s awesome having him back,” Stark said. “We’ve known each other for 20-plus years. We don’t have egos involved. We both have the same goals, to help produce good young men and win football games. “He knows what it’s like to do what I do, so he helps pick up the slack and make my job easier. He’s one of the best offensive minds around. With defensive coordinator Greg Bryant, I’ve got two great coordinators who take a lot off my plate, and I feel very comfortable letting them do what they do.” Brickman said he enjoyed the experience at OBU, and the offense had success last season. But he missed high school football, and wanted to work closer to his family in Blanchard. CASADY’S WARIBOKO-ALALI TO PICK COLLEGE MONDAY Casady defensive back Max Wariboko-Alali will announced his college choice Monday after announcing Wednesday his top three choices. Wariboko-Alali said on his Twitter account he will choose between Louisville, Iowa and UCLA, where his older brother Josh signed in February. Max recently visited Iowa. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior also has offers from SMU and Tulsa. Wariboko-Alali is a member of The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of the top high school prospects in the state. A series of profiles on the Super 30 players begins Saturday in The Oklahoman. OSSAA’S SHEAKLEY NAMED TO NFHS BOARD Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association executive director Ed Sheakley was recently named to the board of directors for the National Federation of State High School Associations. The board meets four times a year and Sheakley will serve a four-year term. He has been with the OSSAA since 1992. He was named executive director in May 2009. YUKON'S LANE WALLACE AMONG RECENT JUNIOR GOLF WINNERS It’s been a busy time for junior golfers around the state, with some big tournaments in recent days. Yukon’s Lane Wallace, who just completed his sophomore season, won the USGA Junior Amateur sectional qualifier held at Karsten Creek in Stillwater Monday. Wallace shot 75-79 to earn a spot in the Junior Amateur scheduled for July 20-25 in South Carolina. Jenks’ Garrett Jelley and Plainview’s Katie Finley won the South Central PGA Players Tour Stillwater Championship at Stillwater Country Club on Monday. Jelley’s rounds of 73-72 were good for a two-storke victory over Newalla’s Joseph Lemieux. Finley shot 80-85 to defeat Choctaw’s Lauren Barnes by one.