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Gundy ready for Hubbard to become the leader OSU needs

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Running back Chuba Hubbard (30) goes up to against corner Thomas Harper to make a catch during the Oklahoma State Football spring practice in Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater on Saturday April 20, 2019. 

After Chuba Hubbard stepped off the gridiron when the Oklahoma State football team defeated Missouri in the Liberty Bowl, he was ready to get back to his passion, running.

However, with slight knee problems, Hubbard decided to depart from OSU’s track and field team.

“I was excited for track this year,” Hubbard said. “I had to get a little work on my knee though, so I had to take a step back.”

Without any track practices or meets, Hubbard’s focus transitioned to the Cowboys’ spring football regiment.

With the loss of Justice Hill, who declared for the NFL Draft, Hubbard has quickly been inserted as the Cowboys’ No. 1 threat in the backfield.

Following the Cowboys’ spring practice, head coach Mike Gundy said he’s like what he has seen from Hubbard.

“Overall, he had a really good spring,” Gundy said. “I don’t know that I kept up with how many carries he had today, but (Chuba’s) in good shape. He’s in good position right now to have a good year.”

While Hubbard will see many snaps this season, OSU has many viable options at running back.

Last season, LD Brown appeared in 10 games on offense and special teams. He finished with 27 carries for 163 yards. His only touchdown came on a 77-yard sprint against Missouri State.

Hubbard said he’s become brothers with Brown and other OSU running backs, current and former.

“We’ve been brothers since day one,” Hubbard said. “Me, JD (King,) Hill, everyone knew we were really close. But the guys we have now, we’re already close. We’re brothers and we’re playing for each other.”

Brown said he’s ready OSU to compete and wants to hold people accountable for doing their job.

“I just hope to see us win and play together and just finish games,” Brown said. “That’s probably one thing that we didn’t do last year. Just finish the close games and as Gundy says ‘we’re gonna get ready in the summer.’”

Throughout the spring, Hubbard has had to mature as he became the Cowboys’ No. 1 running back.

Gundy said Hubbard needs to become a leader next season.

“I saw him start to mature and take things over in the bowl game,” Gundy said. “He needs to be a leader and I think he will. It’s easy to lead if you’re a good player and have skill. Players will tend to follow you. You know, I think his attitude will be really good. He was very quiet last year and he’s somewhat coming out of his shell.”

Hubbard and Gundy said the team still needs to work out some parts. These include the quarterback battle between Sanders and Brown, the defensive line, the offense and more.

For the next couple of weeks, the Cowboys will take a step away from the field to get ready for finals. Once the academic year is finished, the Cowboys will hit the gridiron again for summer condition and workouts.

“As an offense, we have a lot to work on,” Hubbard said. “I like the way we’re moving. Dru and Spencer, obviously everyone has those questions. They’re looking really good. Offensive line is amazing of course. The defense is looking the best ever, I think. So yeah, I’m excited.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com