Keondre Wudtee Flashes Talent, Upside in OSU Debut

[PFB]
Written by Kyle Boone

When the OSU football depth chart dropped before the season, Mike Gundy hit us with the dreaded or in between Taylor Cornelius and Keondre Wudtee at the backup quarterback position.

Wudtee was believed to have been playing from behind in the race to Cornelius throughout fall camp before a late-camp surge, and while Cornelius wasn’t the official backup, he was the only QB not named Mason Rudolph to participate in the season-opener a week ago.

Against South Alabama though, it was Wudtee, not Cornelius, who got game action. (This was likely due to an injury to Cornelius, as reported by the OSU broadcast team.)

Nevertheless, it was a thrill to finally see Wudtee unleashed.

The 6-foot-4 dual-threat QB from Bossier City, La. came out guns ablazing immediately, and he was bailed out of a pretty bad pass with a called facemask penalty.

Here’s his first college pass attempt aimed at the Biletnikoff Award favorite. Timing wise, that could’ve been on the money had Washington not been held up. But the free safety read his eyes all the way as he telegraphed where he was planning to go from the moment he caught the snap.

Working the safety over is Mason Rudolph’s wheelhouse, but Wudtee’s first pass attempt was unfortunately a lesson in what not to do.

Wudtee’s wheels were a big part of what made him an intriguing name in recruiting circles late in his senior year at Bossier High, and I really thought OSU showcased that talent well with design runs and option runs in zone read. Here he is following the Cowboy Back straight up the gut for a respectable six-yard gain. And look, ball security!

In Wudtee’s first incompletion targeted at Washington, he threw off his back foot and it flew directly into what quickly became double coverage. But in his next pass attempt became his first college completion to Tylan Wallace, in part because Wudtee was able to step into the throw and rocket it across the field.

I really liked this throw. This is big boy stuff. It wasn’t exactly in the breadbasket, but throwing it cross-field was impressive. Wallace was open on a timing route for a second or two before Wudtee delivered the rock, but I was impressed with his arm strength on this throw and Wallace did well to secure the ball before attempting to turn up field.

On the ensuing play, OSU put Wudtee in the Walsh package and let him go to work in the zone read. [*rubs hands together in excitement.]

Wudtee correctly called his own number after seeing the middle stuffed with defenders and bounced it outside for an 18-yard gain and fourth-down conversion. It was his biggest play of the game.

He’s not fast, but he’s athletic. So dubbing him the next Vince Young would be … inackurut. But I think his athleticism and mobility is similar to that of … a tight end, maybe? Yeah, a tight end. Fast, but won’t necessarily run away from you with the burners.

OK, now that I’ve got the brunt of the praise out of the way, let’s take a look at some not-so-bueno Wudtee action down the stretch.

In back-to-back throws in the fourth quarter, Wudtee went overthrow-underthrow with OSU already playing from behind the chains.

Here’s the overthrow to the sideline targeted for Austin Parker—an uncatchable ball even if Marcell Ateman was standing on Jelani Woods’ shoulders!

And here’s the underthrow to LD Brown in the backfield.

Wudtee signed off with a final stat line of 7 passing yards on 1-of-3 attempts and 29 rushing yards on 3 attempts.

Although I’m cautiously optimisic about Wudtee’s development, there’s two areas he needs to improve on: Timing routes with receivers, and accuracy of his passes. That much we knew would be a work in progress, and to date, it’s still an area it appears needs to improve on.

What I was most encouraged with was his ability run the zone read and tuck and run when needed. I know it’s South Alabama, but pulling the ball on a fourth and 2 as a freshman in his first game to pick up 18 yards is impressive by any measure. He’s not Chuba Hubbard quick, but he’s fast enough to play at this level as a dual-threat option out of the backfield.

If Cornelius is able to return to health, there’s likely no definitive time for when Wudtee might play again — so this was a good barometer of his development in an environment in which his performance mattered not.

Despite the obvious weaknesses in the passing game, I thought he flashed some upside. If he can shore up his passing deficiencies he can be a real threat as a dual-threat signal caller for the Cowboys down the road. But for now, he’s still a bit of a work in progress.

“He needs a lot of work,” Mike Gundy told the Tulsa World about Wudtee after Friday’s game. “But it was good to see him get out there a play a little bit.”

  • Mark

    Well, I see what you are saying, but I’m not so high. The completion to Wallace dropped velocity and had Wallace been another yard up field he would’ve been catching it at his ankles, or blown up by the coverage.

    The run he gained a nice chunk of yardage he held the ball a second too long making the decision, and had trouble pulling back in from the RB’s gut. It slowed him down a step and risked a fumble.

    Sorry to be grumpy gus. But I’m just calling it likes I sees it ;).

    On a positive note, his progression and potential remind me of Treyvonne (sp?) Boykin. Remember he sucked as a passer his first year, then made huge strides and turned out to be a stud. Maybe we’ll see the same from Wudtee.

    • OrangeTuono

      Or…
      He threw it to Wallace with “nice touch”.
      And held the ball in the RB’s gut long enough for 11 USAdefenders to bite on the RB dive.

      He’s only been in a couple of game day snaps. He’s likely to get the jitters out of the way and become a very good QB.

      • Mark

        Yes, true, I sure hope so!

  • Pistol Rick

    doesn’t matter. Sanders will be starting as a true frosh next year

    • b

      exactly right. Sanders will be ahead of any qb we have on campus now.

    • Chris Baker

      I hope they RS him and Cornball gets the nod. He’s Chelf 2.0, and KW is like a faster version of JW who can’t throw as well.

      • spokepokes

        Ya I’m up in the air on what we should do. It all depends on how game ready Sanders is. If he’s tearing it up I think we roll with him but I think it’s more likely that TC is more game ready.

        • Mark

          I think it also depends on the talent we have next year as an overall team. I personally wouldn’t play a true freshman if most of the other units are also developing. I’d rather redshirt and wait for all of the pieces to come together for a “bag year.”

  • Matt

    Everyone keeps forgetting about Jelani

    • spokepokes

      Don’t think anyone is forgetting about him. I just don’t think he’s any good. I doubt he ever plays honestly. Next year we will probably see TC as a starter or Sanders. If not Sanders next year my guess is that he is the starter by 2019.

  • Nate

    Wow… just wow. Wudtee looked absolutely horrendous. What was Boone watching? His one completion was about a full second late and his pass to Washington was underthrown by about 5 yards. If he’s ever the starting QB, OSU is going to be awful.

    • Pistolo

      HAHAHA! Perfect, Booner gonna Booner

    • Pistolo

      BAHAHAHAHA… Booner gonna Booner

    • Pistolo

      Boonie Boonie Boonie… gonna Booner, Booner, Booner

    • spokepokes

      He won’t be the starter. It will be TC or Sanders.

    • Pistoloo

      Booooooonnnnneeeeerrrrr

  • Saucy Takes

    Let’s be reasonable he’s going to need a quarter or two to really get things going

  • Jeff in Tulsa

    Jeeze you guys… nothing like some piping hot takes after three passing attempts. I bet I could could cut together three passing attempts of Mason Rudolph where he looks pretty bad. Part of the problem here *IS* Mason Rudolph. We’ve been spoiled from 3 years of having a first-round NFL draft arm back there. No matter who takes over next year, it’s not going to look great because of what Mason has been doing. I’ll reserve judgement on Wudtee when I’ve seen him attempt more than 3 passes. I know… bonkers, right?

    • spokepokes

      He didn’t look good in the spring game.

  • Nope, not a thrill. Did not give me warm fuzzies on the off chance that QB one gets hurt.

  • Keith

    Your reference to Wudtee being as mobile and athletic as a tight end got me thinking. With Corndog, Kolar, Wudtee, Woods and Sanders all competing for a spot in the three deep at QB, would McEndoo/Yurcich/Gundy consider Wudtee at CW if he doesn’t make the three deep. I’m not saying he won’t. This is just a hypothetical. I hope he develops into a phenomenal QB

    • David

      Now THAT would be an interesting development! Unfortunately, he seems far too skinny to work as a CW… Maybe just a really tall receiver?

  • Jim Green

    One would have to think Kolar is a candidate to transfer. With Sanders coming into the fold next year, in addition to Wudtee and Jelani battling it out for the starting spot, Kolar is left out in the cold.

  • KansasPleshette

    Kyle Boone are you his agent? I’m all for giving everyone a chance but you are digging deep here to make a story out of 3 passes. Lets give the same “Love” to all the others.

  • Chris Baker

    I’m not sure what game you guys watched, but I saw a guy who, at present at very least, cannot run our offense. That was a wildcat offense. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone at this point feels like KW should be the 2nd option. When comparing he and cornball the talking heads just say the same old tired things like his ceiling is higher. What you really mean is he can run well, that’s it. That is his high ceiling, he might be able to throw but he’s fast so he has a really high ceiling. From what anyone has seen KW cannot throw the ball well enough to run our offense. Conrball isn’t going to be a pro QB, but he can throw enough to run our offense. I hope Corn wins the job next year and we don’t do what these bloggers are pushing us to do, choose a guy based on his ceiling, when ceiling really just means he can run. I have to bet these same people were saying the same thing about Chelf. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES!!!

  • Scott Sechrest

    Man, on that overthrow to Parker, it looks like he has a guy wide open in the middle of the field behind one safety and in front of the other.

    • rod

      Two of those the slot receiver in the middle of the field was WIDE open. Both would’ve gone for long gains…defenders were at least five yards off the receiver.

      I’m sure this will be pointed out during film study.

  • p

    after all the hype, I was not impressed. I know it’s mop up duty but good lord those passes were bad. Jelani or sanders are your guys for the following 4 years.

    • spokepokes

      I’m still thinking TC is probably the guy next year.

  • Chris Baker

    High Ceiling = can’t throw but really fast

  • Ben DeWalt

    Seeing Wudtee out there was a positive no doubt about it. I look at it this way.

    He showed both the legs and the arm strength to run our offense. Now he clearly isn’t ready to run the offense with accuracy/decision making and might not be next year. That is fine expecting a Freshman RS to be running the offense smoothly is having your expectations set too high.

    Go back and watch the Kansas game when Cornelius was put in as a freshmen. 2/5 for 8 yards. These things take time the article points out the positives because when your 3rd string QB who is a freshman plays pointing out the negatives is unnecessary. Also saying he can’t throw reminds me of all the people who got excited for Dax Garmin when JW went out I remember people talking up Dax as the next big thing just because he could go deep. Playing QB comes down to more than your arm.

  • Guest

    I chuckled when he compared his speed to a tight end…..he’s much faster than a TE but in all seriousness it’s hard to pass judgement off 3 passes. It was his first career collegiate game for crying out loud. If you expected him to perform like mason than you got duped. I don’t know if he’s the answer for next years team but I’ll wait and see how he progresses over the season and spring to make a assessment.

    I find it funny everyone glosses over jelani woods and assume spencer sanders is going to take the job as a true freshman. Make the light bulb comes off for john kolar, who knows lol.

  • Shamari

    Am i the only one who thought wudtee didn’t look good at all. Had a nice run but his passing was erradic. Soke of his completions were on underthrown passes. He just does not impress. This being an OSU blog nobody is going to say anything but positive things about the gut but that is just my 2 cents

  • Les Miles

    The very first play Stoner had his man beat deep and Hill was there for a nice 6 or 7 yard gain. Instead he tossed it into double coverage towards Washington. The second play here when he throws it to Wallace he has a man get wide open in the middle of the field for a first down. He’s not that great of a passer either. If he wants to run this offense next year there are three critical areas he needs to work on.

    1. Properly reading the defense
    2. Better decision making
    3. Obviously his passing accuracy

    There is a reason the kid was a 2 star recruit with Louisiana Tech being his best D1 offer next to OSU. I’m sure if he works hard he could be a diamond in the rough, but as of right now he is not the answer as option #2 this year or option #1 next year.