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The Rundown: Gundy on Spring Practice, Coaching Changes, Shane Illingworth

Spring is here.

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Spring ball is already here.

Oklahoma State held its first spring practice of the year Monday. After the practice, Mike Gundy held a news conference. Here is what he said.

• “Obviously back at it. It’s an exciting time for us from the standpoint that we get back on the field, the fun part of what we do, to get out and coach the players. No pads, but it’s good to be out there and move around. We do a lot of individual time. We do a lot of special teams, try to get some really quality teaching and coaching since we don’t have contact in practice. Lot of seven on seven, some one on ones.”

“It’s fun to get back out there. The players have had a fantastic offseason. I’ve been very impressed with them. I think they’re in excellent shape right now. Their attitudes are good. I like the cohesiveness of our group, where we’re at. Leadership’s really good. It’s an exciting time for all of us. We’ll practice again Wednesday and Thursday then they’ll be off for spring break. When we come back, we get to go full pads.”

• On moving Kasey Dunn to offensive coordinator and bringing in quarterbacks coach Tim Rattay: “Kasey was a really good fit for the situation we’re in now, tied in with bringing Tim in to coach quarterbacks. [Dunn’s] experience and relationships with our returning players, which is a big number, was a real comfort for me in elevating him. As we went through this process, I wanted to make sure that we could get a quarterback coach that was a really good technician and could bring our guys along and recruit that position.

“The questions come just from being at the coffee shop, ‘Well, why now?’ The fit was good based on the returning players we have. I’m very comfortable with the system we’re gonna run, which is our plays that we run. We don’t really change much. We do a little bit based on who the quarterback is. We don’t need to vary and get away from who we are. Kasey’s a perfect fit. We’re able to keep guys together. Once I felt like I had a good shot of getting Tim, it made me a lot more comfortable. The timing was good for all parties involved.”

• On how much Rattay can develop the QBs without having to worry about calling plays: “That is an advantage. I’ve always been somewhat hesitant for a playcaller to not be in the quarterback room. I don’t think there’s any question there, people know that. I’m comfortable with the situation we have now. That is an advantage in that Tim’s responsibility is to watch the quarterback every play in practice every day all the time. That will make it a little bit easier.

“We moved Lorenzo [Joe] to the graduate assistant spot, so he can work on the field with wide receivers and be active as a coach. That would allow Kasey to move around some if he needed to to watch other positions. Kasey’s not gonna get too far away from the wide outs, but it does allow him that freedom. Coach Dunn and myself were both comfortable with Lorenzo helping on the field with the wide receivers.”

• On Tylan Wallace: “He’s doing good. Guys that are as athletic as Tylan and some of these other guys are ahead of schedule. Now he just needs to stay on course and not try to do too much and he’ll be fine. He’ll be up and going before long, but we just don’t want him to get too far ahead of himself.”

• On Collin Clay: “He’s fit in really well. We recruited him, and then he committed to Arkansas early. When he contacted us, we had a prior relationship, so it worked out well to get him back here after the coaching change they had over there. We’re glad he’s on our team.

“[The waiver for immediate eligibility] takes time. I don’t think it’s going to matter in a month anyway. I think it’s just gonna go through, and in most cases when you have a rule change like that, they’re gonna grandfather back. They’re gonna go back and say he’s good, would be my guess.”

• On Jarrick Bernard’s move from safety to corner: “Just based on his strengths and the type of offenses we face in this league that we kinda felt like he’s better suited there.”

• On what Bernard’s move means for OSU’s safeties: “[Jason Taylor] played really well in the bowl game. We have experience at that position. We felt like [Bernard’s] strengths and what he can bring to the table can be more advantageous at [corner] in our league.”

• On freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth: “He seems to be doing great. He’s pretty quiet, doesn’t talk a lot, did well in the offseason. I was impressed with how big his body is. I would’ve thought he would’ve struggled more. He didn’t. I thought he did good out there today. It’s real early, but I don’t think it’s overwhelming him. He’s kinda holding his own at this point.

“When you’re as big as he is (6-foot-5, 226 pounds), it’s not easy to do all that running. Sometimes when you come in and play quarterback as an early enrolled freshman, it can overwhelm you a little bit. He seems to be doing fine.

“He’s a lot like Taylor [Cornelius]. Taylor was more flexible and had more just straight speed what Shane does at this time. But their body structure and kind of the way they carry themselves, there’s a lot of similarities. Nobody ever heard Corn talk for four years. They’re a lot alike from that standpoint.”

• On Cornelius’ XFL career: “He’s doing great. I haven’t watched hardly any of that, but I’ve seen, I just happened to be flipping through the TV on his games, I’m not knocking anybody but the people around him are pretty average. He doesn’t have a good supporting cast, but he’s doing really well. I watched him. He floated an interception to a safety in the end zone one time. I texted him right after that. He was still playing in the game, but I still needed to text him, ‘Be good if you found your safeties before you laid one up down the field.’ But anyway, I’m so excited and happy for him since he’s a great person. They were kinda riding him for a little bit. He just kept fighting.”

• On Sanders’ hand: “He’s fine. He’s 100 percent.”

• On Rodarius Williams: “This is a money year for Rodarius. This is a year where he needs to put really, really quality plays on video to increase his chances to play beyond this year, which helps our team.”

• On Braydon Johnson: “We wouldn’t know as much about him if Tylan wouldn’t have got hurt. It was one of those things where it worked out well for us now, that we have a lot of faith in him. He’s been an awesome young man for us because when he came in here, his first year or two was tough, just structure and all the things. Then he turned a complete 360 and started working hard and doing things right and started having success last year. It’s a real success story for him.”

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