OSU football: Sanders’ game already evolving under new QB coach

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Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders throws on the run during the Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State football game on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. 

With new Oklahoma State quarterback coach Tim Rattay finally in town, Spencer Sanders’ game is already evolving.

The redshirt sophomore QB already proved he had a great arm last year as he broke the OSU record for most passing yards by a freshman in a single season, but now it appears that Rattay is working on a new strategy to further improve this aspect of his game. This strategy is simple: keep Sanders inside the pocket.

Although it’s still early in the spring, Sanders said that he’s already seen improvements. 

“I feel like we took a great step today,” Sanders said. “I didn’t leave the pocket not one time today. I stayed in and I delivered a pass every time so I mean honestly I feel like it's already taken a big toll on me and he’s really helped my base with my feet and I just keep a nice base in my body and shoulder close just deliver a good pass. So, I feel like he’s already made a great leap and he can only go further up from here.”

By keeping him in the pocket, Rattay is attempting to improve Sanders’ pass delivery, decision making and trying to limit his turnovers. Sure, Sanders could do some magical things when he rolled out of the pocket last season, but his pocket presence still leaves something to be desired. This new method of keeping him inside aims to improve this weakness.

“I’m trying to work on his mechanics in throwing the football, mechanics inside the pocket and then I told him ‘Listen, I want you inside the pocket, then when things break down I want you to go do what you do, but if the pocket’s clean I want you to stay in there, I want you to go through your reads and make accurate throws’,” Rattay said. “That’s kind of what we’re harping on and he has that ability to obviously, when it does break down, to make plays with his feet. But I want to make those plays come to him, not manufacture them.”

Rattay’s vision for Sanders’ game is very similar to his own tendencies. During his six-year NFL career, Rattay would rarely leave the pocket, instead focusing on quick, smart passing to elevate his game. He also coached two pro-style QBs during his one-year stint with the Washington Redskins in Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum. Sanders said that Rattay’s pro-style approach and NFL history is a great help to him.

“I mean it’s great we learn knowledge and we learn a little bit about the next level,” Sanders said. “But we really just want to focus on this level and learn what I can to make me better at this game right now and focus on helping my team and being a better player for my team.”

Sports.ed@ocolly.com