Alan Bowman's veteran presence, football IQ stand out in Oklahoma State spring practice
STILLWATER — After a brief period of passing drills with no defense, Oklahoma State quarterback Alan Bowman tracked down fullback Braden Cassity on the sideline of the Sherman Smith Training Center.
The quarterback wanted to dissect the previous play with his new teammate, offering a bit of advice for the route Cassity had run.
Bowman was in his fourth practice as a Cowboy, his first in full pads, but it’s clear he carries himself like a veteran. As a super-senior in his sixth season of college football, such status is not in question.
But Bowman’s ability to blend with a new offense — he’s playing for his fourth head coach, with a new offense under each — will be closely watched.
Yet his experience and general understanding of football principles will ease the transition.
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“The years of experience, there’s no substitute for it,” head coach Mike Gundy said prior to Monday’s practice. “I haven’t been able to see him falter on video yet, or live.
“You can’t replace maturity, and that’s what he brings to the table. That’s why we brought him here.”
Bowman, who transferred from Michigan and spent three years mostly as the starter at Texas Tech, is the veteran of the quarterback group battling for the starting job.
Redshirt freshman Garret Rangel, who started three games last fall, redshirt sophomore Gunnar Gundy, who started once, and incoming freshman Zane Flores make up the group contending for the job.
Gundy said last week he could envision the competition extending into August camp.
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Mobility concerns with Bowman?
Not since Mason Rudolph in 2017 has Oklahoma State had a true pocket passer at quarterback, and the offense became particularly reliant on a mobile quarterback over the last four years with Spencer Sanders.
Bowman is not that type of player. He has rushed 46 times for minus-9 yards in his career. But that also represents a low sack total for a guy who has attempted 724 passes.
Understanding how to avoid the rush and get rid of the ball can be a valuable asset.
“I don’t think Bowman’s a runner, but he did move around well enough,” Gundy said. “In the style of play he was in at Tech, those guys have to avoid a lot, because they throw so many passes.
“I don’t know that the pure pocket passer is as relevant now as it used to be. You have to be able to move around and avoid the rush and make a play.”
Gundy pointed to former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, now with the San Francisco 49ers, as a prime example.
“You couldn’t really get your hands on him and get him down,” Gundy said. “He’d move around and make a play. He wasn’t gonna take off and run for 60, but you couldn’t really grab him and get him down.
“That’s really what we’re looking for now. If the guy can take off and run and score, that’s great. But he’s gotta be able to throw accurate and make good decisions.”
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Keeping it simple
Mike Gundy is good with first-year defensive coordinator Bryan Nardo taking his time with the installation of the new defensive scheme.
To ease the process, Gundy altered the winter training schedule to include more on-field walk-throughs than in the past, giving the players a chance to be familiar with the changes before spring ball began.
Still, Gundy wants to make sure the defense is progressing one step at a time.
“Overall, I have faith in Bryan and the staff,” Gundy said. “I’ve asked Bryan to be very simple, and let’s make sure we’re up and running before we get to the next step. I feel good about that.”
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Excitement from newcomers
With 28 new players on the team for spring, Gundy has sensed a unique energy from the large group of newcomers, particularly those from the transfer portal.
“The one thing that is interesting about the portal, as we learn more about it all the time, those are new guys that chose to be here,” he said. “They’re excited about being here. They’re hungry. They want to be a part. They’re working hard. And I see that from all of them right now.”
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma State football: Alan Bowman showing veteran presence for OSU