The Oklahoma State football team is on the verge of finishing its long spring program, which means that we're getting a clearer and clearer picture of what it will look like this fall.
With the spring finale coming next Saturday, the Cowboys coaching staff is working overtime to ensure that the squad is as ready as possible before the summer break. Everything is still in a state of flux, but it's slowly solidifying for Mike Gundy and Co.
Obviously, with so many moving parts, things are going to change before the 2013-14 season begins, but for now, this is the stock report for the Pokes program.
Justin Gilbert—Stock Up
Last season, Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert wasn't anywhere close to the ball hawk he became in 2011, but he was a solid contributor for the defense.
In deciding to return for his senior season, Gilbert has a chance to greatly improve on his play and show the world that he can match his immense physical talent with consistent on-the-field production.
It's still early, but Gilbert has looked good this spring, embracing the more aggressive defense and playing with a chip on his shoulder. His renewed focus has already been noticed by the Cowboys staff, especially defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer.
If Gilbert can continue to play at such a high level, he will greatly improve Oklahoma State's pass defense, while also helping out his draft stock.
Mike Gundy's Scheduling Philosophy—Stock Down
One of the bigger reasons Mike Gundy was the subject of so many coaching rumors earlier this year is because of his scheduling philosophy.
Gundy doesn't want to schedule any high profile, nonconference games because he believes that it hurts the team's chances of making a national championship run, which also hinders his ability to recruit.
However, that may no longer be the case.
As pointed out in this NewsOK.com article by Barry Trammel, college football's move towards a playoff format is going to make strength of schedule a much more important factor when looking at potential championship contenders.
If teams like Oklahoma State continue to play cupcake schedules, it's going to be that much harder to find themselves in the hunt for a national title.
Clint Chelf—Stock Way Up
Clint Chelf made a huge impact for the Oklahoma State Cowboys last season, coming off the bench late in the fall to become the Pokes starting quarterback. He did an admirable job and has earned himself the lion's share of first-team reps this spring.
However, while his play on the field will be what everyone focuses on, Chelf has been doing equally well in the classroom.
The senior gunslinger was named Oklahoma State's Student-Athlete of the Year this past week, showing that the Pokes excel on the gridiron, as well as in class.
This is great news for the Cowboys because, as Mike Gundy pointed out earlier this week, football has become a much more cerebral game in the last few years, and it's essential that your players have a good handle on the mental side of the game.
With a student-athlete as talented as Clint Chelf, it would seem Oklahoma State is in good hands.
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