OK State won’t reveal starting QB before opener

NCAAF

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State hasn’t announced a starting quarterback and coach Mike Gundy is not expected to reveal his plans for the position before the Cowboys’ season opener next Friday night at Oregon State.

Both redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders and Hawaii grad transfer Dru Brown have been competing for the job since the spring, and both have performed well. Both likely will see action.

“Nothing changed,” Gundy said. “Both of them are getting better every day. We have a really good plan in place — it’s not something that I’m going to discuss publicly at this time.”

Brown, who passed for 37 touchdowns with 15 interceptions in 22 games as Hawaii’s starter in 2016 and ’17, served as a backup to Taylor Cornelius last season but played just one snap. Sanders, a highly touted high school recruit out of Denton, Texas, sat out last season as a redshirt.

Cornelius graduated, and his primary backup from last season, Keondre Wudtee, transferred to Northern Arizona.

Both Brown and Sanders have worked hard throughout camp in an attempt to distinguish themselves, and while neither has been able to seize the top job, both have been impressive.

“I don’t think there’s much difference between the two quarterbacks as far as how they throw it,” said junior wide receiver Dillon Stoner, who was third on the Cowboys with 48 receptions and 603 yards last season. “They are both great quarterbacks, no matter who is going to start.”

Even though both QBs are competing with each other, they also have been getting along well and helping out each other.

“I don’t spend a lot of personal time with them based on what I do, but I do see them having discussions over what’s going on on the field, which is positive,” Gundy said.

“There’s no question both of them want to be the starter. I’m guessing that both of them would like to be the full-time starter, so there’s always going to be some edge and competition there, but it has not become a distraction, and I actually think it’s been positive in their learning experience. That’s the part that I appreciate with them, that they can compete and also work together to improve.”

Gundy, who was a quarterback at Oklahoma State from 1986 to 1989, acknowledged that he wished he could get each player more snaps in practice, but he and first-year offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson have worked out a plan that splits the reps equitably, using both the first- and second-team offenses.

“You’ll never get enough reps for the starter when two guys are sharing time,” Gundy said. “That’s the issue you have. There’s no secret there. You can’t just put more plays in, because the five offensive linemen only have so many reps in their body. So what we do is we just run the same plays with the 1s and the 2s, and then if they run this list of plays, then the next guy runs this list of plays and it becomes the same.

“It’s just not with the first offensive line and the group of receivers. The thing that helps us in this area is we play a lot of receivers and they rotate in — we always have done that here — and so there’s not really an issue with working with one guy more than the other. I don’t think, at this point.”

With the competition between the two progressing since spring, the blueprint for dividing the reps in practice has been in effect for quite a while.

“All of that was done early in the summer — the reps, the scripts, the plan was in place before they went on vacation in June, so it’s all laid out exactly,” Gundy said.

“Because we knew when spring ball was over, it wasn’t going to change before August, so all that was done before we ever started August practice. And it’s all been scripted the way it should be to get everybody quality work.”

Since both guys are running the same plays in practice, the playbook against Oregon State also will remain the same, no matter which one is on the field.

“We’re going to do the same things we’ve always done,” Gundy said. “We’re not doing anything different — we run the same plays. We have a plan in place right now that I think Sean and I are really comfortable with, but that’s not something I really want to talk about now.”

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