Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said quarterbacks J.W. Walsh, Daxx Garman and Mason Rudolph were outstanding Saturday afternoon in the team's last major scrimmage before the Aug. 30 opener against Florida State.
“The quarterbacks played the best they've played in a scrimmage probably in a number of years here,” Gundy said.
The Cowboys still haven't announced a starting QB. Walsh, who started five games last season, appears to be the front runner after passing for 1,333 yards last season and being voted the Big 12 offensive freshman of the year by the coaches.
“J.W. brings a lot of physicality to the game,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “He understands the game very well, and he has experience, and he's a great leader.”
That doesn't mean Walsh has anything locked up. Gundy said Garman has had a good camp, and he was good again on Saturday.
“He played very well,” Gundy said. “He threw the ball effectively. He was able to move around in the pocket and pick up some yards scrambling.”
Yurcich said Garman, who has not played at Oklahoma State since transferring from Arizona before the 2012 season, has made his mark throughout camp.
“He's had a lot of practice reps,” Yurcich said. “He continues to impress us with his ability to throw the ball down the field. Daxx can really spin the ball. It's really pretty to watch him throw it.”
Yurcich said Rudolph is progressing. The highly touted pocket passer entered Oklahoma State in the spring and, even with some mistakes, he has impressed the coaches.
“Mason Rudolph still has a little bit of growth from an intellectual standpoint,” Yurcich said. “Small things that are very correctable, but very typical of a rookie. From a physical standpoint, we're very excited about him being here.”
The coaches said the team looked sharper than in its scrimmage seven days earlier.
They said film of Saturday will go a long way toward deciding position battles and possibly who might redshirt as the focus shifts to the regular season.
The Cowboys lost their top two receivers, Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore, from a year ago, but Gundy said Jajuan Seales, Brandon Sheperd and David Glidden have been making plays throughout camp. Seales caught 39 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns last season. Sheperd caught 14 passes for 223 yards and Glidden caught 15 passes for 173 yards a year ago.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said his unit held its own during Saturday's scrimmage, and the defensive front was especially good. Spencer said he pulled his starters early in the scrimmage so he could get a better look at the backups.
Spencer said some of the young defensive backs made some mistakes in the secondary, the kind that could affect their position on the depth chart.
“We had some pass interferences that I'm not pleased with,” he said. “Most of them were young guys, those border guys who have got to just see and learn. It's a point of emphasis. If you get your hands on (your opponent) downfield, even though he might have his hands on you, you don't know which way it's going to go. So they've got to learn from it. It's a tough job.”
Spencer said freshman linebacker Justin Phillips has stood out during camp.
“Justin Phillips has really showed up,” Spencer said. “He can tackle. Some of the wide stuff, we've got to work through it, but he'll put his face on you, so I'm pleased with him.”