Monday, April 22, 2013
Big 12 spring game review: Oklahoma State
By David Ubben
Miss Oklahoma State's spring game? It was probably the Big 12's most interesting thus far (postgame, anyway). We've got you've covered. Let's have a look.
Clint Chelf worked with the Orange team and completed 17-of-34 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown with no picks, leading them to a 17-7 win.
J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt split reps with the White team. Walsh finished with 123 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 13-of-23 passing. Lunt finished with 122 yards and an interception on 15-of-27 passing.
Linebacker Caleb Lavey returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown with just over a minute left to lock in the win.
Cornerback Justin Gilbert swiped two interceptions and defensive lineman Jimmy Bean made two sacks and scooped up a fumble.
What we learned:
It's going to be an intriguing few months in Stillvegas. Mike Gundy made it clear after the game that he won't be updating the quarterback spot until the season opener. "There's really no reason to talk about what our quarterback situation is. We've been very open about it through the spring, but I don't know if there's anything else we can say other than we're fortunate to have three that are really good," Gundy said. Well, no, he could say who's going to start against Mississippi State, but that would certainly be a lack of gamesmanship. At this point, I'd say the smart money is on Chelf getting the ball to start the season, but this isn't the first time we've seen a coach handle a quarterback competition this way. Nebraska's Bo Pelini waited until starting lineups were announced on opening day to reveal his pick between Cody Green, Zac Lee and Taylor Martinez, but the young, speedy freshman ended up beating the odds and his competition. I'm sure you'll hear a number of anonymously sourced reports between now and then with updates on who's winning, but by now, if it's anyone but Chelf, it'll be a surprise. OSU wants to go faster, and that experience gives him the ability to do so. Not turning the ball over (something that's continually been a huge problem for Lunt) in Saturday's game doesn't hurt, either.
Welcome back, Justin Gilbert. I wrote on Friday that I was intrigued to see the cornerback play, and Gilbert made it happen. He went 13 games without an interception last season after nabbing five in 2011. He grabbed two on Saturday. Interceptions aren't necessarily a fair representation of cover skills, but Saturday was a welcome development for everyone involved, minus the quarterbacks, of course. "Justin played very average last year, and he would be the first to admit that," Gundy told reporters. "He's certainly very talented, and he was in position to make plays today, and that's what he needs to do for us. He needs to be a guy who has several interceptions and runs the ball back. As fast he as he is, if he's in the right area, he can get the ball off a tip -- and that's what he did today." OSU really needs that to carry over into the fall, and that position battle opposite Gilbert between Ashton Lampkin and Kevin Peterson should be interesting to watch in the fall, too. Ultimately, both will be in the rotation. The defense as a whole was really, really impressive, and we know what this offense is capable of. Lots to be encouraged about for Pokes fans after Saturday.
Don't worry about the run game. The offense as a whole was pretty underwhelming on Saturday, with all three quarterbacks having lower completion percentages than I'm sure they'd like and starting running back Jeremy Smith being held to just two yards on six carries. "I think our run game is going to be fine," Gundy told reporters. "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. Obviously, Jeremy has to be the guy now, and Desmond (Roland) backs him up." I buy Gundy here. It's a bit of a red flag for now, and I don't think Smith is quite as talented as a lot of the other backs that have come through OSU in the past few years, but I expect OSU to have a seventh consecutive 1,000-yard rusher this season.
Another problem finding a solution?Blake Jackson's unreliable hands were one of the bigger frustrations for OSU in 2012, but he definitely showed some progress on Saturday, catching five balls for 34 yards. "It's a pleasure to show the fans that I'm better than I was last year, and really getting to come out here and show how hard I've been working. It was definitely a fun time for me. The hard work won't stop."