STILLWATER, Okla. - The Oklahoma State football team held an approximately 100-play scrimmage - its first of the spring - on Monday in Boone Pickens Stadium, with the defense getting the upper hand for most of the session. Coach Mike Gundy talked about what he saw from his team:
Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy On Monday's scrimmage:
"The defense really played well. We've got a number of guys that can run to the football and they show up fast. Offensively, we could never get into a rhythm. Really, none of the three quarterbacks did much, but I kind of expected that with a more mature defense. I expected them to play well and the offense to be a little slow at times - that happens in the spring. As a team, some things that we've got to correct are that offensively, we've got to get into a rhythm better and guys who can make big plays have to step up and make big plays. Defensively, we've got to find a way to force more turnovers and get the ball on the ground."
On if any position group stood out during Monday's scrimmage:
"Defensively as a group, they all ran to the ball well. One thing I noticed is that our linebackers run sideways real well and they show up fast. Shaun Lewis, Lyndell Johnson and Joe Mitchell and those guys really run well side to side and show up. I think that's going to pay great dividends for us during the season."
On if the team's intensity is where he wants it to be at this point:
"Not really. One thing that happens during the spring is they've now gone against each other enough that you lose a little bit of that, but they certainly need to be self-starters and do a better job of getting out here and playing at a high level and trying to put themselves into a situation that they'd be in on gameday. It takes a little time, but I wasn't as happy as I was with last Friday, when we had a little bit of a scrimmage situation."
Among the offensive highlights of the scrimmage was a J.W. Walsh-to-Blake Jackson touchdown pass. An inside receiver/tight end, Jackson chose to enroll at Oklahoma State after an outstanding 2011 season at Scottsdale CC that led to him earning scholarship offers from schools such as Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas, among others. His position coach, Doug Meacham, talked about Jackson and the Cowboy inside receivers:
Inside Receivers Coach Doug Meacham On if Josh Stewart can replace the productivity of Josh Cooper:
"Yes, I would say so. Stewart has an innate ability to be in the right spot. He's got really good body twitch and ball skills. Some guys are naturals at getting in the right spots. He's a guy that naturally has a great feel for the void areas and the holes and where to bounce. He's super-twitchy. It's hard to get a glove on him. It's hard to wall him or collision him or re-route him because he's got such good twitch. He can get in and out on you, he can stem you and get in spots.
"His ball skills are off the charts and his hand-eye coordination is unbelievable. He's not quite as big as Josh Cooper, but I think in a year or so - maybe a couple years - he'll get close to that. In terms of body twitch and control, he may have more than anybody else that I have. As time goes on, he's only going to get better with the feel of the game and what we do offensively. I'm really high on him right now."
On how Blake Jackson and others can fill the statistical void left by Justin Blackmon:
"Tracy Moore has moved outside this spring and Tracy has had a lot of reps. We're trying to find another guy that can get in there and absorb the offense and what we're trying to accomplish. I wouldn't say that anyone else has just blown me away. However, Blake has a really good body. He's real long. He's older, whereas a Torrance Carr is a true freshman and trying to figure out what we want at that position. I wouldn't say either one of those guys has separated himself from the other, so we're still trying to find the right guy. If we were playing tomorrow, it would be Blake, based on his experience and his age. With time, they will understand what we want and give us the quality reps that Tracy gave us."
On the inside receivers as a whole:
"For whatever reason, my guys have always been laid-back types. My meeting room is not very rigid. It's not run like an English room or a math room. We have a lot of fun, but I would say that they understand at what point they need to get serious. There's a time and a place for everything. I try not to make it so rigid that it's not any fun, so in that room, it's more of a lighter feel - it always has been, especially last year with some of the characters we had like Colton Chelf, Josh Cooper and Charlie Moore. We like to have fun, but at the same time, we like to compete. We play hard when it's time to play hard. We understand what we're trying to accomplish as a position group."
On where David Glidden fits in:
"He's like Josh Cooper, just smaller. There again, Glidden has an innate ability to be in the right spot, but he does it with a whole lot less reps. That comes from catching a million balls in high school in somewhat of a similar offense. He just gets it. He takes what we talk about in the meeting room and applies it on the field. He's not a rep guy. He's a guy that hears it once, then does it once, then he's got it. That's really big because not everyone can be that way. Some require more time, so because of his ability to do that fast and learn fast, it allows me to spend a little more time with some of the other guys that don't."
On the rise of Oklahoma State football in recent years and his appreciation of it as an Oklahoma State graduate:
"It's incredible. When you're here every day, you somewhat get used to it. It's interesting to me when the former players come by or when the coaches clinics come through here and they're just blown away and I remember how I felt when I first walked in here and I look around and think yeah, this is really, really good. I remember not having a lot of these things that we have right now. It's a definite advantage in recruiting and it's a definite advantage in being comfortable here and letting your guys be comfortable. They can come over here with all the tools and be in a great learning environment with all the nice things you can possibly have in football. It's just a great place to be."
On his favorite moment from the 2011 season:
"Bedlam. Period. End of story. The whole thing. The game in general, what it meant to the fans, what it meant to me both as a coach and as an alum. The fact that the game meant everything - everything was on the line. To play them at home and to play the way we did, it was the greatest football moment of my 24-year career."