Gundy says scrimmages are showing spring improvement

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is seeing good progress with his Cowboy team this spring.

The Oklahoma State football team held its first scrimmage of the spring last Friday during its ninth spring practice at the Sherman E. Smith Training Center. The Cowboys scrimmaged for about 100 plays in a practice session that lasted approximately one and a half hours.

“It was really good,” Gundy said of the scrimmage.

“We had 100 plays in an hour and six minutes, so we got a lot of work done. The quarterbacks played well. The offense kind of turned it into a track meet there. I thought the running backs played well. The effort was good. The defense made some plays. A few more penalties than I would want, but overall I was pleased with our scrimmage.”

OSU is searching for a backup quarterback with Mason Rudolph firmly implanted as the starter.

“Taylor (Cornelius) did really well, so did John (Kolar),” Gundy said of the reserve quarterbacks. “I wouldn’t say at this point that anybody has really separated themselves, but I thought all three quarterbacks played well today.”

This scrimmage was the toughest of the spring.

“We will have two more of these, but it wasn’t a full tackle-to-the-ground day,” Gundy said. “It was full speed, but we’re limited a little bit. The defense is at a little bit of a disadvantage because they’re not tackling from the side, but we got a lot accomplished today.”

OSU looks to improve its running game next season.

“It looks like we were able to rush the ball pretty effectively,” Gundy said after the scrimmage. “I know there’s times that our linemen had their count wrong and I don’t think it was blocked correctly, but I felt like 32; (Chris) Carson, ran hard. (Jeff) Carr made some players miss and I thought 23 (Rennie Childs) did a good job. Raymond Taylor always makes plays. We’re improving. We still have a long ways to go.”

Gundy likes what he sees from the offensive line this spring.

“I think we’ve improved up front in the offensive line just in the short term,” Gundy said. “Quarterbacks are coming along, as I had mentioned. I think we’re getting good play out of our safeties and our star linebackers. I’m pleased with where we’re at at this point in the season.”

He’s not overly surprised at the improvement.

” I think everybody played pretty well,” Gundy said. “Like I said, our attitude, our body language, our effort was really good. We had officials here so we had a few more penalties than I would have wanted, but it was a good day.”

After an earlier practice, Gundy praised receiver James Washington.

“I’m not sure anybody really knew just based on being from such a small community, but he’s very athletic just as we talked about,” Gundy said. “He was a multi-sport player. I was really excited when I watched him play a basketball game and he followed a missed shot and tried to dunk it with one hand, but he missed the dunk; but at least his elbow was above the rim. He spoke to our team at the end, and we mentioned to the team why was because of his lead-by-example effort that he puts out every day, and he certainly earned a lot of respect from the players. I would agree that he has exceeded expectations and what the recruiting services thought at that time.”

The Cowboys will have some rebuilding to do on defense, especially with Emmanuel Ogbah probably being picked in the first round of the NFL draft.

“We’re certainly not going to look the same in the first half of the season because they don’t have the experience that those guys had, but we need them to start to play at a higher level once we get into conference play and hopefully they can continue to improve as we get to the latter part of the season,” said Gundy.

“I think we’ve improved at running the football through seven practices. We won’t know until deep in September or the middle of October where we’re at, but I think we’ve improved in certain areas. We’re bringing along some young players in a number of areas. We have a number of returning starters, but we don’t have as much depth in the top 40 players as what we had last year, so it’s a little unique; but our system has always worked and we have to develop young guys to help us in October and November.”