Offensive Line is a Variable for Cowboys Offense, but Progress is Being Made including Springfield
STILLWATER -- The numbers aren't bad by any means, but at Oklahoma State where up and down the field offense has been a constant; Boone Pickens Stadium, where explosive plays live in perpetuity averaging 420-yards and 28.5-points a game the expectations are high. Oklahoma State fans are used to a routine of somewhere north of 450-yards and 35-points a game. Heading into the Texas game, that game is a prime example. The last five games Oklahoma State has scored 30 in defeat, 38 in victory, 13 in an overtime win, 49, and 30.
"We have good skill players and we are coming along a bit as an offensive line," Gundy explained of the current state of offensive production. "We've made some strides. We have to be protective a little bit on what we do offense. We can't be like we've been the last 10-or-12-years and do anything we want, Katy bar the door."
Gundy's reasoning, the offense has a blending of a couple of younger offensive linemen in the line-up with former walk-on red-shirt freshman Jake Springfield at left tackle and red-shirt sophomore Hunter Woodard at right guard.
"As we develop as an offensive line then we will get a little bit better as we go on throughout the season," Gundy went further on the offensive line. "We have two guys on the offensive line that have played in just two or three games in their career. Forty percent of your offensive line doesn't have much experience and there has to be a price."
Springfield was announced and presented a scholarship in August in a video from Blake Jarwin, a former OSU walk-on turned scholarship player turned NFL starter with the Dallas Cowboys. Springfield has really improved week to week since he became a starter.
"Jake Springfield has come a million miles in a short period of time," Gundy added. "The one thing he doesn't have and is lacking, is experience. His best years are ahead of him.
"It was a great confidence booster," Springfield said of the Kansas win, his second as a starter. "We all needed that game to kind of catapult our offense. We're running a lot smoother now. Everyone's kind of clicking, because we've had so many injuries, had to throw new guys in. Now that we got a good offensive performance behind us, everybody's clicking."
"All we can do is get him more experience each day and we are doing that one day at a time," Gundy said on Monday of Texas week. "We are really excited about Jake and what he can become. His offseason his body will change and his strength levels will continue to go up. He will keep moving his feet better. He is a cerebral player. He keeps his composure on the field and he loves football."
Springfield carries himself well on the field. In fact, you really don't see any hesitation, any sign that being a starter at this stage is too big a role for him. He is earning respect from all corners of the locker room.
"I just have the utmost respect for guys like that that come in here and just work their butt off," All-American wide receiver Tylan Wallace said of Springfield and others he has seen earn a scholarship. "Especially guys that earn scholarships like that. That's just a blessing to receive a scholarship. Guys like him they come in and they don't know if they're gonna get a scholarship, they don't know if things like that are gonna happen. They just come in and work. They work their butt off everyday."
This Saturday the offensive line will have a chance to show it has progressed some more. Springfield will see the Longhorns edge defensive linemen like Moro Ojomoa, Jacobey Jones, or even Jack linebacker Joseph Ossai. He will have plenty of responsibility in helping Spencer Sanders and the offense click. I think you'll see he will handle himself well, not perfect, but he is playing winning football.