Courtesy of Oklahoma State Athletics
STILLWATER, Okla. â€“ The Oklahoma State football team put a cap on its 2010 spring practice with the offense claiming a 55-39 win over the defense using a modified scoring system in front of approximately 7,000 fans at Boone Pickens Stadium.
â€œI thought we had a really good scrimmage,â€ OSU head coach Mike Gundy said. â€œI was looking forward to seeing the offense execute without coaches being on the field and our goal was to get around a 100 plays. I think we got a little bit more than that. We wanted them to go out and have an effective scrimmage and, obviously, we wanted to stay healthy. We had an opportunity to use a lot of the younger players and some guys that aren¹t on the first and second team unit on some kickoffs and some punts, which is really good. We wanted everybody to get on the field.â€
Led by junior Brandon Weedenâ€™s 257 yards and four touchdowns on 22-of-34 completions, Cowboy quarterbacks passed for 423 yards on the day. Freshman Johnny Deaton was also solid, completing 14-of-18 passes for 63 yards with one interception. Clint Chelf completed six of his seven pass attempts for 42 yards and Brayden Stringer connected on nine of his 14 attempts for 61 yards and a touchdown.
All tolled, 17 different receivers caught passes, with Josh Cooper leading the way with seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. Colton Chelf and Tracy Moore both caught five passes on the day, with Chelfâ€™s totaling 69 yards with a touchdown and Moore going for 61 yards and a score. The longest play of the day was a 65-yard Weeden-to-Justin Blackmon touchdown strike in the early going.
Returning All-America running back Kendall Hunter was as explosive as advertised, carrying the ball four times for 43 yards (10.8 yards per carry) and logging four receptions for 28 yards, highlighted by a 16-yard grab.
â€œItâ€™s fun to throw the ball to him or hand the ball off to him and see him do what he does best,â€ Weeden said of Hunter. â€œHeâ€™s going to have a big year. If he stays healthy, the sky is the limit for him. Iâ€™m glad heâ€™s lined up next to me every play. Heâ€™s a tremendous back.â€
Gundy and offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen have consistently praised Hunterâ€™s effort during the spring.
â€œI feel really good about Kendall right now,â€ Gundy said. â€œHe had a really difficult time not competing last year and he couldnâ€™t practice full speed and he lost a little bit of his edge. Heâ€™s regained it in the off season and weâ€™re really looking forward to him having a good year.â€
The leading tackler in the game was walk-on Jerry Reagan, who logged seven tackles and a pass break-up. Linebackers Joe Mitchell and Tolu Moala both registered six tackles, with fellow linebacker LeRon Furr bagging five tackles, recovering a fumble and breaking up a pass.
The spring game may not have been a true indication of where the defense is, as the defensive players were not allowed to hit the quarterbacks.
â€œDefensively, theyâ€™re a little handicapped with the way the point system is,â€ Gundy said. â€œItâ€™s a little more difficult for them.â€
Defensive end Richetti Jones was a disruptive force during his time on the field, logging three tackles for loss and a sack. Linebacker James Thomas added three tackles, with one for loss and had the gameâ€™s lone interception.
â€œWeâ€™re grooving together and weâ€™re going to have something special going into the season,â€ Thomas said.
Gundy noted the teamâ€™s positive attitude and body language during the spring game as things that stood out to him. He also commented on the Cowboysâ€™ spring as a whole.
â€œI think we got a lot better. Overall, we stayed fairly healthy. I thought our offense gained an understanding of the system quicker than I would have expected and I think, defensively, players stepped up and made some plays,â€ Gundy said. â€œThe first 15 practices in the fall will be really big for us. We have to become a more physical team. We need more players in all three phases to continue to step up and be leaders, but we certainly expect that.â€