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Notebook: Cowboys open up spring practice

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Oklahoma St Baylor Football

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders throws downfield against Baylor in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Waco, Texas, in the first half. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, pool)

Oklahoma State football started spring practice Sunday for the first time since 2019.

After 2020’s spring slate was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Cowboys finally got to put in some spring work.

Here is what coach Mike Gundy said after practice.

The offensive line looks good after an up-and-down 2020 season.

OSU’s offensive line kept taking hits from the first possession of the 2020 season against Tulsa. Those injuries began to pile up as the season went on, and led to freshman and players with no experience seeing huge roles on the unit. As the season went along the offensive line got better and began to show great strides in their efficiency.

“This was by far the cleanest first spring practice that I’ve had in my 17 years as a head coach because we had so many days to prepare for this and it looked really clean and players were able to execute and get lined up and assignments and technique and finish,” Gundy said. “So, I was pleased. Obviously, tomorrow we’ll look at all the tape, but I was pleased. The tempo of practice, the attitude and for the most part of it, it looked like everybody was where they were supposed to be on each play.”

With Josh Sills coming back for another year the offensive line looks to be an improved unit from a year ago.

“We’re looking forward to Josh performing at a really high level mentally and physically,” Gundy said. “Last year he wasn’t in shape. Came in coming off an injury, we had COVID, we didn’t train the way we should’ve trained. We couldn’t. I don’t think he was ever in shape to play. I think he’s better in condition now than he’s been in 18 months. That helps him, things resonate differently when he’s not tired all the time. So, I’m excited about the direction he’s moving.”

Linebacker corp learning on the fly after the departure of Amen Ogbongbemiga

The Cowboys defense will have a huge task of filling the hole left by the departure of linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga to the NFL Draft. Ogbongbemiga was a huge stopper in the middle of the defense, but luckily for the Cowboys they Malcolm Rodriguez decided to return for one final season. The Cowboys also have the return of Devin Harper who backed up Ogbongbemiga most of 2020. Harper, however, will not participate in the first month of spring practice because of a shoulder injury he’s nursing back to health.

The younger guys who could see time on the field will have to learn quickly, and the spring practices will help them with that.

“Then we have the other young players, or inexperienced players — there’s three or four of those guys that haven’t played much, so they got to play catch-up,” Gundy said. “Lamont (Bishop), [Na'drian Dizadare], Jeff Roberson and there’s one other one, but those guys have to play catch-up, OK? They just got to learn on the run. Mason Cobb was the other one. That’s why I’m excited about all the reps the young guys get, because that’s the only way they are going to learn.”

Spencer Sanders spring is a huge part of his development

The Cowboys starter didn’t play the full season, but when he did he showed big strides from his freshman season to his sophomore season, especially in the Cowboys bowl game against Miami. Now heading into his third year as a starter Sanders has a lot of competition, but his development has shown his talents, and he’ll have a full spring to hone in on some of his struggles一 something he didn’t have last season.

“This year, his development in the throwing game, now that he’s learned to control his emotions will be important through spring and August, because we all know that he can pull it down or keep it and run and take off and score and can make big plays,” Gundy said. “As he now learns to understand what to do with the football and take what the defense gives him, it’s just going to give him a chance to become a better player at this level.”