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Oklahoma State Saturday Practice Report

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

The Oklahoma State football team held an approximately two-hour long scrimmage Saturday at the Sherman E. Smith Training Facility. Coach Mike Gundy and selected members of the team spoke with media following the scrimmage and Gundy announced that one-time walk-ons Daxx Garman, Kip Smith and Teddy Johnson have been put on scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year. His comments:

Coach Mike Gundy

Opening statement

“We really had a good day. We had a 131-play scrimmage and I thought we had good effort in all areas. The offense made some plays. The defense made some plays. We were able to get some special teams work during the scrimmage. We were able to work on some return game prior to the scrimmage. The indoor was perfect for us today. It was humid but we were able to get in, get to work and get a number of plays in without completely draining our guys. We're trying to keep them hydrated over the next 10 days prior to school starting. It was a really good day. I thought the quarterbacks played fairly well. I thought we ran the ball effectively. Tyreek (Hill) made some plays. (Desmond) Roland showed up. We had a number of wide receivers. We had some young freshmen make some plays on offense, and I saw some freshmen on defense that showed up. There wasn't anything out of the ordinary from a personnel standpoint. We did get quality work with the two linebackers, which are freshmen. I thought we had some good work with our defensive linemen. We have some depth there and those guys have shown the ability to get to a quarterback. Overall, it was a good day. We'll finish up with meeting and such tonight and give them a few hours with family and such that come into town for the scrimmage. We'll get started after church tomorrow and get started again in the afternoon.”

On if any position battles are starting to shape up

“Not as much anymore, because we play two groups on defense and we're not more than two deep on defense. For the most part in games, they're going to play 60-40. There may be a few positions where guys get a few more plays than that. Offensively, for the most part, we've kind of solidified who our offensive line is. We always play seven receivers, and then we have three or four running backs that we're comfortable playing. We have a good feel for who's going to play in the first game and they're getting quality work.”

On walk-ons that he feels can contribute

“We've got some good freshman walk-ons; guys that I can see getting some good playing time as early as the latter part of this season and certainly next year. We've got a great program here that we're very proud of. I'm going to venture that we put more walk-ons on scholarship here than anybody else in this league. They're treated with great respect. They get all of the same opportunities that the scholarship players do with the exception of tuition. I think that as we move forward with some of these changes that they're even going to get an increased opportunity, which is what we're here for. We can't forget that at the end of the day, we're trying to get these young men an education and make sure that they have a great four-year experience. We have guys that are showing up. (Jeremy) Seaton was a walk-on and he plays all the time now. Teddy (Johnson) was. You had mentioned (Kameron) Doolittle, and then we have Blake Jarwin that is going to get some playing time. We have some offensive linemen, two guys that are in our second team, and they're walk-ons; same thing at the linebacker position. We're very pleased with our walk-on program and we're very fortunate here at Oklahoma State that our administration understands the importance of walk-ons and what they bring to our program. We're able to bring a number of them in. We're able to bring a big number of walk-ons into this program. There's no question that they've had an impact on this program over the last several years.”

On the wall at Boone Pickens Stadium that honors walk-ons

“These guys know how I feel about walk-ons. Whether we like to admit it or not, in all phases of what goes on in the world and this country and college athletics, we forget that at the end of the day, it's a game. The guys come and pay their own way. Many of them have jobs. There's a huge demand. We spend just under 19 hours a week with them and they're paying their own way. I have a lot of respect for those guys, so we do every single thing we can to make sure that they understand that we appreciate them. That's why we have that wall down there that is dedicated to our walk-ons. When they walk by there, they see their name. Their name will be up there forever as long as I'm here. If I'm gone and somebody else wants to change it then I guess they can, but as long as I'm here they'll see their name. The reason for this is because some of them aren't as gifted or talented as scholarship players, or they would be scholarship players. We miss on them, but if they don't have the talent, they still deserve to have their name on our wall because they're giving us great effort. They just aren't born with the same talent as some of the other players have.”

On how he rates the team so far

“I think that the quarterbacks are playing well. J.W. (Walsh) had a good day. He managed our offense and made plays. I like where we're at. I've always been honest, and there have been times after a scrimmage where I've thought we were terrible or I've thought we lacked focus. The only issue I had today was that I thought we had too many penalties. When you practice nine days and you don't have officials out here - we brought the officials in and we had too many penalties. Most of them were five-yard penalties that we need to clean up. We had some freshman wideouts that couldn't get on or off the ball like they were supposed to. Defensively, I think we only had one pass interference. I think we had one holding call. We need to clean up those penalties because we need to be sound and function as a group. Today was a step in the right direction but we certainly need our work.”

Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer

On how he feels about the defense after the scrimmage

“We had spurts of good play and spurts of breakdowns. If anybody expects us to pick up where we left off last year, it's not going to happen. I just told them that it's how far we can get from where we are right now to where we'll be on the 30th. We have a lot of things we've got to do. Some missed tackles, some missed assignments, some technique issues, giving up explosive plays. There's too much of that going on.”

On how the skilled offense helps the defense prepare for Florida State

“I just told them afterwards that I'm glad that we've got some playmakers on offense. I'm glad. You're exactly right. Do we think there aren't going to be playmakers on the 30th? There's going to be a lot of them. That's no excuse for us not executing though. We've just got to get the mental errors taken care of. All of the installations are done as of yesterday, so we've got to clean a lot of that up. This was the first scrimmage situation where we didn't blow a quick whistle, so a lot of times they thought the play was down when it wasn't. I tried to tell them they were going to hold the whistle a little bit today to let us get him down and tackle better. We've got to find times to stop the momentum. We got momentum on offense a couple of times and we didn't step up to stop it.”

On his assessment of the scrimmage

“We've got some offensive playmakers and we gave up some explosive plays today. There are different reasons why that happens. You can't just look at the guy that's guarding somebody. There could be a breakdown somewhere else, so we'll look at the film and find out. We had spurts where we played well, but the consistency of getting drives stopped wasn't there. We let some guys continue. You've got to find a way to stop drives and stop momentum. They went down two or three times and we didn't.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich

On what he's seen at the receiver position

“Continued effort and big plays, but it's like every position we have on our offense. It's about consistency, hard work, great effort and improving every day.”

On if it's easier to see guys separate from each other in scrimmage situations

“An opportunity like today, scrimmaging over 40 plays with the ones, we had a chance to evaluate some guys, or we will when we look at the film. It will provide a sense of where we are from a personnel standpoint and guys moving up and down the depth chart.”

On his overall thoughts of the scrimmage

“We have to be a little bit more consistent in every facet, whether that's pass protection, a quarterback's reads, perimeter blocking or calls up front. And we definitely have to eliminate the penalties. Too many penalties. We have to be a smart offense and limiting penalties is part of that.”

Receiver David Glidden

On the Cowboys' tough schedule

“Really since I've been here, being in the Big 12 is tough, overall. We've played some big games at the start of the season before. You can't be any more excited playing the No. 1 team in the country. It's a big deal, and if guys aren't fired up for that then I don't know if you ever will be. It's tough at the beginning and down the stretch it does get tough again, but it's one of those things where you can't overlook games and you've got to take them one by one no matter who it is. You've got to get your job done and do your duties each week.”

On how similar a scrimmage is to a game

“It's about as close as you can get, to me. We're trying to keep guys healthy. We want to stay up and keep guys healthy, but at the same time we're flying around and trying to make plays. Guys are out there battling for spots. You can't go out there at half-speed. You go out there half-speed, then guys are going to come out there trying to grab your spot. It is full-speed, but at the same time we're trying to keep guys healthy and keep them out of the training room.”

On Tyreek Hill

“He's got unbelievable talent. Everybody I talk to, they ask me about him and I say, ‘You're just going to have to wait and see. It's something you can't really describe.”

Defensive End Emmanuel Ogbah

On the scrimmage

“I think the offense did a great job and I think the defense still needs work. It's a good thing this was the first scrimmage and we have more left and we get a chance to improve.”

On people saying he is poised for a breakout year

“I don't pay too much attention to that. I'm just here to help my team out and be the best I can be.”

On the defensive line

“Like they say, we are pretty young, but we're coming on strong. We're just working hard right now trying to get better every day.”

Safety Jordan Sterns

On young players playing a big role in the defense

“We're young and we're playing a big part of the role with not having any older guys to look to, except Larry (Stephens), which he does a great job doing. Some of the older dudes like Ryan (Simmons) and Jimmy (Bean) and Sam (Wren), they do a good job of helping me stay focused. We're very young, but I think we're going to be OK because we do have good leaders on the team.”

On how different the locker room is without Justin Gilbert and Daytawion Lowe

“It's different from the standpoint of two playmakers – guys that had been playing since their sophomore years, I think – they both were impact players for the defense, so it's different, but at the same time, Larry was there last year and Larry knows everything. Things I don't know, I can look to Larry and he does a great job explaining things to me, calming me down.”

On who hits harder between he and Larry Stephens

“We both come hit. All the safeties can hit. Tre (Flowers), Deric (Robertson), all of us have a hard-hitting mentality.”

Safety Larry Stephens

On leading other safeties

“This is going into my fifth year, so I feel like I have a lot of experience in most areas than the rest of the safeties. Whenever they have questions I just try my best to give them the best answer for improving their game. I work hard to improve myself as well.”

On what he's looking forward to about playing a bigger role in the defense

“Just stepping up. We don't have guys that were here last year, but we just have to step up and take care of that role and step up and be that player.”

 

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