When Deondrick Glass made his commitment to Oklahoma State on ESPN at the Blue-Gray Football Classic, he proclaimed he wanted to win the Heisman Trophy as a true freshman.
Midway through his first fall camp in Stillwater, the four-star recruit from Katy, Texas, may have to rethink his proclamation due to the depth at the position for the Pokes.
In recent years, Cowboy coach Mike Gundy has wanted a freshman in that RB3 role, but there appears to be a shift in mindset.
“We’ve been fortunate the past several years with depth at that position, so we might not have to play a freshman,” Gundy said Tuesday.
Sitting at the top of the food chain among the running backs is redshirt sophomore Chuba Hubbard, who exploded onto the scene late last season when Justice Hill went down with injury. Hubbard rushed for 740 yards and seven touchdowns last year, with 425 yards and five touchdowns coming in the final three and a half games of the season.
Projected to play behind Hubbard is redshirt junior LD Brown, who rushed the ball for 163 yards last season – with 110 of it coming late in the opener against Missouri State. Gundy also mentioned redshirt freshman Jahmyl Jeter as a backup candidate after he saw an increase in practice minutes prior to the bowl game last year.
But as Hubbard saw firsthand last season, Glass – and any of the backup tailbacks – are an injury or defection away from seeing minutes on the field.
And right now, injuries have slowed several tailbacks, including junior college transfer Dezmon Jackson – who has been limited with an arm injury – and more recently an ankle injury to Jeter.
“Jeter’s got a little bit of an ankle (injury), he’ll be out a day or two. But he’ll be fine,” Gundy said Tuesday. “Dez Jackson will be back first of next week, full speed.”
Concerns of two-QB system
With Oklahoma State two weeks away from opening the season at Oregon State, and Gundy no closer to naming a starting quarterback, the reality is starting to set in that his comments from as far back as July may stand true.
Since the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Arlington, Texas, in mid-July, Gundy has expressed the possibility of using both Dru Brown and Spencer Sanders at quarterback. But the difficulty with having two quarterbacks has been lingering for him since shortly after the bowl game.
“It (concern) started last spring, and it doesn’t really go away for me,” Gundy said. “… If you clearly have one player that’s better than the other, you play him. If not, you have to play both guys.”
A two-quarterback system used to be a bit of a common theme in college football in the past, but with the evolution of the game and the bodies of athletes nowadays, it’s hard to find anywhere that has shown success with it.
“They just don’t have enough reps to go around. We don’t practice as many plays as we used to because these guys are such finely-tuned athletes, and they play so fast all the time,” Gundy said. “For us, anyway, it’s limited. The only time we’ve ever done it is if we’re using a short yardage guy with the exception of (Clint) Chelf and J.W. (Walsh) that one year, because we didn’t have a clue who would be the best player.”
But Gundy isn’t too concerned about both quarterbacks getting work with the top offensive unit right now, because he recalls the recent rash of injuries for his quarterbacks.
“History tells you that you’re going to end up playing both of them anyway,” Gundy said. “I think it’s one or two out of the past seven years that we’ve played one quarterback the entire year. For the most part, you’re probably going to need both of them at some point.”
Last season with Taylor Cornelius was just the third time dating back to Brandon Weeden in 2011, in which Oklahoma State’s offense didn’t have to go to a second option at starting quarterback due to injury. The previous times were Mason Rudolph’s final two seasons in Stillwater.
Follow News Press sports editor Jason Elmquist on Twitter @jelmquistSW for updates on Oklahoma State athletics.