Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Big 12 spring game recap: Oklahoma State
By ESPN.com staff
What we learned:
- New starter Brandon Weeden threw four touchdowns.
- The offense beat the defense, 55-39.
- About 7,000 people showed up to Boone Pickens Stadium on a rainy Saturday.
They said it:
- This spring at Oklahoma State has been all about the offense, even as the defense replaces seven defensive starters.
- Kendall Hunter is Oklahoma State's best offensive weapon, and it's not close. New offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen knows this, and so does everyone else. Hunter is going to get the ball in 2010, but I don't think he'll do most of his damage in the running game. He got four catches and four carries in the spring game for 28 and 43 yards, respectively, but obviously that's an extremely small sample size. "He had a really difficult time not competing last year and he couldn't practice full speed and he lost a little bit of his edge," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "He's regained it in the offseason and we're really looking forward to him having a good year." I like Hunter's chances to be more effective catching the ball in space and making people miss than I do weaving his way through blocks from an offensive line replacing four starters and learning a new system. Hunter doesn't need to learn much to break tackles in the flat. It could be a rough year for the Oklahoma State O-line.
- Have to be encouraged by Weeden's performance, which only legitimizes the talk of progress this spring. He threw for 423 yards to go with his four touchdowns on 22 of 34 passing. Those are very Holgorsen-esque numbers. Weeden won't be getting any Heisman buzz like Case Keenum did last season, but there's no quarterback controversy in Stillwater. "The last three weeks, he got better every week," Holgorsen said. "He can make every throw."
- On the note of quarterbacks, I was in Stillwater when Oklahoma State opened spring practice. Holgorsen mostly just smiled and shook his head when talking about early enrollee Johnny Deaton's struggles. As spring came to a close, he nailed down the No. 2 spot. Have to say that's a little surprising and not a great sign for sophomore Clint Chelf's future at the position. "The first three days, [Deaton] was overwhelmed, so I ignored him for three weeks and told him to absorb [the offense],” Holgorsen said. "When his number was called this past week, he knew where to go with the ball and he was much better. Where he’s at right now, I didn’t expect him to be based on his first practices.”
- Hubert Anyiam was a surprise no-show, quietly breaking his foot during spring practice. Losing your top receiver in the spring is never good, and with Tracy Moore and Justin Blackmon looking like the only probable threats, it's not a timely injury. Better than in the fall, I guess. It could be a big summer for Josh Cooper, too. He'll have opportunities in the pass-happy offense and he'll need to take advantage of them.
"I think the pace of the offense got better as we went on. We kept moving the ball and getting first downs. Coach Holgorsen stresses that -- just get first downs and things will take care of themselves."
-- Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden