OSU Practice Report: Day 5

STILLWATER - The storms that passed through Stillwater on Monday night did some fairly extensive damage to the community and on campus. Boone Pickens Stadium suffered some minor roof damage as there were some sheet metal strips that came loose from part of the structure at the top.

Tree damage was extensive all over the community including on campus. There was also window damage on campus to vehicles and some buildings.

The storms caused the Oklahoma State football team to spend their first day in full pads inside the stadium as they moved off the grass practice fields. Despite the move inside, the level of practice stayed very high in the eyes of the head coach.

"We've had two good practices in a row. A couple days ago, I was disappointed with our attitude and lack of being physical in practice, but it was better yesterday and even better today," Gundy analyzed. "There was enthusiasm throughout the practice, so we accomplished a lot this morning."

It was a day that saw big plays on both sides of the football. One of the biggest was an absolutely freaky interception in which defensive end Jamie Blatnick literally snagged the ball out of mid-air on a pass and hauled it in. The right-handed grab was so surprising that Blatnick had no problem going by everybody and trotting into the end zone.

Later, back-up star linebacker James Thomas had an interception on a screen pass. There was also a fumble recovery for the defense during team period.

"I want the defense to win every day. I'm convinced that we have to continue to recruit more speed, more athleticism on defense, and find ways to get big defensive tackles in here as we develop this program," Gundy said.

"I hope the defense dominates every day. I'm obviously comfortable with the experience we have on offense; we'll move the ball. I spend most of my time in practice with the defense anyway, and I enjoy that part of it."

"I feel better and I was just talking to Coach (Glenn) Spencer and I think we are even better," defensive coordinator Bill Young said. "We have an intelligent group of guys working to cut out the errors. It means a lot for our players to not make mistakes and work hard."

There were plenty of things to be happy about on offense too. The running game featuring returning backs Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith, and the offensive line has been consistently good and was again on Tuesday.

Brandon Weeden connected on a long pass to Justin Blackmon. It was typical Weeden-to-Blackmon spectacular as it was well thrown and Blackmon measured up cornerback Brodrick Brown to make the play on the ball.

Freshman receiver Josh Stewart continues to impress and had a one-handed grab of a pass over the middle from back-up quarterback Clint Chelf.

It is still early in practice but one of the main attributes of the Cowboys spread attack is the speed at which it operates. It is break neck speed that can really stress a defense. It is not operating at that speed just yet, but the head coach feels good about it being that fast when it is time.

"I feel comfortable with our tempo. It was better yesterday and even better today," Gundy answered. "Obviously, we time every rep in team period so we know where we're at. I feel like we're moving at a good pace.

"The first five or six practices, it will be a little slower because you have guys in there that are working into the skill positions that haven't ever played, and so there's some thought process that's taking place. I'm not concerned; I think we'll move very fast."

There are also some players that deserve mention for their dogged pursuit in defense and their aggressive play as star linebacker Shaun Lewis is just a stone cold tackler. If he can get to you, then he is taking you down. Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith has to appreciate the way he plays. New addition from Blinn Junior College, weakside linebacker Alex Elkins is a hitter.

"He is a tremendous athlete and an astute learner," said middle linebacker Caleb Lavey. "When we are in our meetings he is always asking questions and then in the weight room he is always pushing everybody. He is going to be a great attribute to Oklahoma State football."

In the secondary the group as a whole is playing well, but cornerback Devin Hedgepeth made some really outstanding plays in coverage.

The Cowboys are back at it in full pads and likely will be back on the grass practice field on Wednesday morning.


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