Orange cornerback Justin Gilbert looks upfield after one of his two interceptions during Saturday’s Oklahoma State spring football scrimmage at Boone Pickens Stadium. The Orange team gained a 17-7 win in the defense-dominated event.
Journal photo by Kyle Lomenick
By Rick Lomenick Journal Sports Editor
Oklahoma State capped its spring drills last Saturday with a spring finale game at Boone Pickens Stadium as part of the Legends Weekend slate of activities. The Orange team gained a 17-7 defensive-dominated win over their White counterparts.
The event gave fans a taste of what to expect this fall. One of the things that drew a lot of interest was the speed on which the offense would work, especially with new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. For the most part there was no disappointment. But unlike spring games in recent history, there weren't flag football-like numbers being logged.
While the offense didn't seem to be running on all cylinders, that doesn't exactly mean anything bad. It's just that the defense played that much better for both teams. And they were pretty consistent. The Orange offense tallied 255 yards of total offense in 62 plays for an average of 4.1 yards. The White offense finished with 252 yards on 70 plays, an average of 3.6 yards.
While the scrimmage was "very vanilla," as termed by head coach Mike Gundy afterward, the defense showed resemblance of being much more aggressive than in years past. That was one of the pledges from new defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer when he assumed the duties earlier this year.
The Orange defense intercepted three passes with cornerback Justin Gilbert snagging two of them for 108 yards in returns. That was two more than Gilbert had all last season as the secondary play was part of a late season fizzle. Linebacker Caleb Lavey accounted for the third as he returned it 52 yards for the clinching score with 1: 06 left in the game.
It looks like the defense will have the ability to rush the opposing quarterbacks as both units notched eight sacks - four apiece - and had 11 tackles for losses. Defensive end Jimmy Bean shined for the White team with two quarterback sacks and a fumble recovery.
The scrimmage also gave the crowd estimated around 15,000 a look at new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and what his take of OSU's high-octane. There still will be the uptempo format and still a lot of passing. That much was pretty evident Saturday afternoon.
The quarterbacks combined to throw 95 passes for just under 500 yards. Of that number 49 passes were competed and three were intercepted.
Projected starter Clint Chelf led the way hitting 17-of-34 passes for the Orange team for 204 yards and one touchdown. Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh split the majority of time for the White team and combined for 28-of-50 passes for 245 yards and one score. Both figure to challenge Chelf for the starting position. We expect both to get some meaningful playing time this year.
The quarterbacks did a pretty good job of sharing the passes as 19 receivers caught at least one ball. Tracy Moore led the Orange with seven catches for 79 yards. Backup receiver Jhajuan Seales led the White with six catches for 49 yards.
There was some rushing of the ball but only 37 attempts by both teams. That wasn't a call to alarm Gundy.
"I think our run game is going to be fine," Gundy said afterward. "It's all based on how a defense wants to defend us. We're going to rush the football and we're going to throw it. We're not going to change what we do."
Special teams is another area that will get quite a bit of attention especially with the kicking game. It won't be easy to replace Quinn Sharp's super leg.
Kip Smith and Michael Reichstein did a solid job of punting the ball without a rush as both averaged over 40 yards a kick. Bobby Stonebraker went 1-of-2 on field goal attempts. That could be one of the more interesting battles once fall camp opens.
This team has all the makings of being pretty darn good and could legitimately compete for a Big 12 Conference championship. August can't get here soon enough to find out.
CN CN CN
Last Wednesday's news regarding the Cowboys' basketball program was welcomed.
The large crowd that turned out at the Student Union wasn't disappointed nor was the legion of fans elsewhere.
Much has been said since freshman phenom Marcus Smart, most notably, made his intentions known he would return. We applaud him for his decision and the level of maturity it took in making it. His explanations were simple much to those who thought he should bolt to the NBA.
"It was a hard decision to make. I love you guys. I'm a Cowboy at heart," he said. " So, it looks like I'm coming back for my sophomore season.
Smart won just about every award imaginable from the conference level on up. That was surely enough to pad his resume enough to be a very high draft pick. Some put him as high as third but most had him in the No. 5 range. Still a nice chunk of change comes with that.
The maturity level shown by Smart during his remarks mostly impressed us. It's pretty special to see a 19-year-old young man boldly face his critics flanked by his teammates and coaching staff. This also shows a person truly who their friends are.
"I feel like making that decision and giving up that much money showed me the true colors of some people in my life and the people close to me," he said. "It showed the true colors of how they really think and how they really feel of me. I think I made the right decision and go Pokes!"
Teammates Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash also told the crowd they too would return next season giving the Cowboys their top three scorers.
Combine the wealth of talent that returns plus the dandy recruiting class coming in, it would be safe to say the Pokes will be loaded and could easily contend for a conference championship. With that comes the pressure to perform and meet that goal.
But for now, let the kids be kids.
CN CN CN
Our congratulations to Cowgirls senior Toni Young for being recognized as one of the top collegiate players in the nation. Remember she was drafted seventh in last week's WNBA draft by the New York Liberty.
Young becomes the second Cowgirl ever taken in the league's draft. Andrea Riley was the first going No. 8 to the Los Angeles Sparks in 2010.
She completed her career as one of the most productive players in the program's history.
She finished in the top 10 in points, rebounds, steals, and double-doubles. She also set new school records in blocked shots with 173 and games played with 132.