April 18, 2009

Orange Takes White

Oklahoma State's spring football session concluded on Saturday evening with the Orange part of the split-squad taking a 20-15 win over the White.

The White team made it interesting late in the fourth quarter when linebacker Donald Booker picked off an Alex Cate pass in the flat and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown to make the score 17-15 in the Orange's favor. On the ensuing PAT, the White ran a throw-back pass to quarterback Brandon Weeden that was completed, but fell short of the goal line. An offsides penalty gave the White another shot at the two-point conversion, but running back Beau Johnson was stood up at the goal line to preserve the Orange lead.

Kicker Dan Bailey tacked on a 22-yard field goal with 55 seconds remaining to give the Orange the 20-15 victory.

The White team's creativity on the two-point conversion was actually spawned ten minutes earlier on their previous possession. That highlights both how serious coaches and players take the annual spring game, but with a flair of creativity and fun.

"We had it. We had it, but the ball floated, but they were off-sides," said offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer, who was in charge of the White squad and designed the throw-back play on the bench. "We would have tied it up and made it a little more interesting, I think."

For head coach Mike Gundy, the spring game is largely about players, coaches and fans having a good time and seeing how young players react when the spotlight is on them for the first time. To that end, the fifth-year head coach considered Saturday's contest a success.

"We had a good spring game today; it was a lot of fun," he said. "Our goal as a coaching staff was to get the young players that hadn't competed much in a pressure situation to get out there and see what they could do."

The Orange took an early 10-0 lead on a Bailey field goal and Keith Toston touchdown run.

The White answered defensively when senior linebacker Andre Sexton forced an intentional grounding throw from junior quarterback Alex Cate out of the Orange's endzone for a safety.

Sophomore quarteback Brandon Weeden connected with Demarcus Conner on a 25-yard touchdown pass to push the score to 10-9 on the ensuing possession.

The Orange's offensive brain trust got creative in the third quarter, running a halfback pass with Toston. The senior found tight end Justin Horton all alone. The redshirt freshman rumbled 42 yards to give the Orange a 17-9 lead that ultimately held up.

Gundy said the assistant coaches might have more fun with the game than anyone, as evidenced by the playcalling.

"The coaches are notorious for putting in trick plays for the spring game; they're also notorious for stealing each other's signals," he said. "I saw some of that going on where they were stealing each other's signals. We try to have as much fun as we can.

OSU's spring game saw a crowd of approximately 12,000 and ended just before a strong thunderstorm rolled through Stillwater. Last year's spring game was delayed by a similar storm.

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