STILLWATER — Oklahoma State is almost one week away from starting the season at Oregon State on Aug. 30, which means training camp is nearly over.
When Cowboys coach Mike Gundy spoke to the media ahead of training camp at Big 12 Media Days, he claimed he was heading into this season with more excitement than he has had in a long time. He also shared that implementing more discipline into his players was a major priority.
The commitment to discipline was shown on the first day of fall camp when the entire coaching staff stepped on the practice field wearing shirts with the slogan “Win with Discipline” printed on them. The staff has continued to wear variations of these shirts.
“We look at the things that hurt us last year,” Gundy said. “We were out of position. We missed assignments on both sides of the ball. Penalties, 15-yard penalties. Those things really hurt our football team last year, and we’re stressing improvement in those areas.”
The Cowboys came into fall camp with several questions. They have a new offensive coordinator in Sean Gleeson, a new offensive line coach in Charlie Dickey and a second-year defensive coordinator in Jim Knowles who is leading a defense that lost all of its starters on the line. Not to mention the position battle between two quarterbacks who haven’t thrown a pass in an OSU game.
Based on the attitudes of the athletes, things appear to be coming together.
“It’s hard practicing all day every day,” receiver Tylan Wallace said. “But going through it with your teammates makes it easier and creates a stronger bond between us.”
Gundy’s excitement has trickled down to his players.
“This year is more exciting and it’s more aggressive,” sophomore Jelani Woods said. “Each day we look forward to getting back on the practice field so we can compete against each other; offense attacking the defense and defense attacking the offense.”
The position battle between Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown and redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders has given the secondary a chance to get reps against different starting-caliber quarterbacks. It allows the defense to focus on different skills depending on which quarterback is taking snaps.
“It’s good because they’re kind of two different quarterbacks,” safety Malcolm Rodriguez said. “Spencer, he likes to scramble around, and Dru will look you off in the back end. You’ve just got to be on your toes and see who’s in to play off them.”
Game 1 in Corvallis, Oregon, will be the first test of the progress OSU has made over the summer. The players are just as ready for the start of the season as the fans.
“Everyone is getting antsy that it’s getting closer to Oregon State,” Rodriguez said. “We’re just ready to go out there and see what we’ve got.”