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Spring Football Notebook: OSU’s Kicks Off Practice No. 1 With New Faces

New coaches hit the ground running and what Jim Knowles has learned in his year at OSU.

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On Monday, the Cowboys got onto the practice field for the first time in the 2019 cycle, and there is plenty to get into.

We heard from Oklahoma State’s new OC Sean Gleeson for the first time, Mike Gundy went full frat mode with media members on hand, but most importantly, football (in some semblance) is back.

So let’s delve into some of what I found the most interesting from Monday’s opening spring practice.

First Look at Sean Gleeson

The new leader of OSU’s offense got to interact with his group of quarterbacks for the first time in a coach-player dynamic on Sherman E. Smith’s practice field.

It’s only the first day, but Gleeson hit the ground running, trying to acclimate himself to his group of quarterbacks and the rest of his offense. And his head coach was taking notice.

“He’s been a solid coach and has been good with the style of offense that we have,” said Mike Gundy. “He’s done an excellent job with quarterbacks and training. He’s had a lot of success, is young and ambitious. The players have a very good feel for him as a person and as a coach, so I just felt like he was a good fit.

“He’s a pretty sharp guy,” Gundy continued. “… I think every day he gathers a little bit more information. To his benefit, he doesn’t really know much about us right now. Today is the first day he’s been able to see us get out there and do anything.”

Tylan Wallace talked about the fresh perspective and energy that the former Princeton OC instantly added to the room.

“It’s really nice,” said Wallace. “He came in with high intensity. He is a really high-intensity guy. Nothing has changed too much, he seems to know what he is doing, and we will get along great.”

“I’m very encouraged about the way these kids work,” said Gleeson. “You kind of don’t really know until you get to a place, but I’m incredibly encouraged by the way Coach Glass wires these kids in the winter time and then how they run around out here at practice. I’m very happy with it.

“… I’m excited to be here. I can’t wait. I was like a kid in a candy shop today so I can’t wait to get some more of these guys and get some more practices under our belt.”

Jim Knowles Likes His Secondary

I was curious what OSU’s second-year defensive coordinator would say when asked about his first 12 months in Stillwater, and he didn’t disappoint.

Knowles was asked the difference in being aware of the reputation of Big 12 offenses from afar and having to gameplan for them on a week-to-week basis. It was night and day, apparently.

“You know, you come to the Big 12, you know the history of it and the power of it offensively. I think when you see it firsthand it’s different,” said Knowles. “Offensive coordinators are willing to constantly seek the big play and take advantage of your weaknesses.

“We’ll be better this year. We finished in the top ten in sacks and red-zone defense and everything else wasn’t good enough. That’s a starting point. We have a couple of things we did well, but everything else has to improve. Another year in our system and getting our guys comfortable challenging and contesting, you know, treating every play like a game, we’re going to make improvements.”

One thing Knowles is optimistic about is the back end of his defense. Several younger DBs were thrust into the fire in 2018, especially behind starting corners A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams, a fact which should pay dividends this fall according to Knowles.

“I’m most excited about our secondary,” Knowles said. “We played a lot of young guys there last year, and you know, ‘school of hard knocks’. They had some tough experiences, but they are going to be light-years better and we have two great corners in my opinion.

“I think when you have two great corners, you have a shot. I think they are going to be some of the best in the league and in the country. When we can play two guys like that, I think we have a chance to be good in the secondary.”

Charlie Dickey Quickly Making an Impression

OSU also welcomed veteran OL coach Charlie Dickey to fill the void of the departed Josh Henson. In just a single practice without pads, he’s already made an impression on a veteran lineman.

Senior guard Marcus Keyes said his new position coach is “very aggressive” but in a good way.

“I like the way he gets us going,” said Keyes. “He’s really fired up to be here, and trying to keep us in shape and everything. He really wants to get serious in practice and help us reach our full potential.”

Additional Notes

As noted by Mark Cooper of the Tulsa World, several of OSU’s linebackers were kept out of practice field drills on Monday. Devin Harper was in a boot and worked from the sideline, Amen Ogbongbemiga and Na’Drian Dizadare were working with Rob Glass and Blake Barron was not with the group of just either LBs to take part in drills.

• If immediately eligible, DT newcomer Israel Antwine will be looked upon to contribute early on OSU’s depleted D-line. He got his feet wet on Monday.

• And Mike Gundy did his best to make visiting media members feel at home.