Cowboy Practice Report: Day 8

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State got off the practice field Friday evening after its second practice of the day and the first day of two-a-days in fall camp. The morning practice was in full pads and featured a bounce back day for the defense after the offense had the better of things on Thursday.

"Our guys played really well this morning," said co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, who added he was very happy with his linebackers including Alex Elkins, who had moved into the starting slot on the dpeth chart at weakside linebacker. "Alex is playing really well and the middle linebackers are playing well too. Ryan Simmons (freshman) is showing up a lot in practice."

Joe DeForest said the work on special teams is going well as kickoffs and kickoff returns got work Friday. Quinn Sharp is handling kickoffs as well as punts and placements at this point, although DeForest was complimentary of Michael Reichenstein and the way he has been punting the ball.

"Michael has punted the ball well," said DeForest. "You know, I really don't want Quinn to have to do it all. It isn't just physical, it is also mental. How would he react if he had to punt after missing a field goal, or come back and kick a field goal after having a bad punt or a punt blocked?

"You worry about that load on one player. At the same time, Quinn is rated by College Football News as the top punter in college football."

One interesting thing was the array of players back working kickoff returns. You would expect kickoff return veterans in Justin Gilbert and Johnny Thomas, but you also saw Isaiah Anderson, Colton Chelf, and freshman running back Herschel Sims.

The morning workout was right at two hours, 15 minutes in full pads and the afternoon workout in helmets, jerseys, and shorts was just a little over an hour.

Offensive line coach Joe Wickline and offensive coordinator Todd Monken, continue to be happy with the depth and especially the quality of play with the offensive line.

"I really think that when you have experience back that has suited up and played a lot of football plays, that's very important," Wickline said. "You really can't replace that.

"You'd rather not go into a year and say ‘Well, I have to replace all five guys and then next year hopefully we'll have two or three guys back.' The depth is good here now; they're doing a nice job."

The Cowboys will scrimmage for the first time this fall on Saturday in a roughly hour and a half session, virtually all scrimmage scheduled for 6 p.m.

Interestingly, it appears in every practice the offense is the hunted in most practices. However, quarterback Brandon Weeden says he likes to consider the Cowboys the hunter.

"I personally would rather be the hunter. You still have to prepare," said Weeden, who is having an excellent fall camp. "Like last year, we prepared well and everything went well like we had planned, but last year no one had a clue who we were and that's not going to be the case this year, everyone's going to know who we are.

"We are going to have a target on our back, but we kind of deserve that in a way. Regardless, we play in the Big 12 and you have to play everybody now, so you still have to come out and play."

Hunter or hunted, the Cowboys take another major step toward the start of the season on Saturday evening.

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