Cowboy Scrimmage Report

STILLWATER — As the group of eight officials stretching and getting ready to work the Cowboys scrimmage on Saturday evening on the grass practice fields were waiting and standing with Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy they received some rather simple instructions.

"We're going to work some punt returns here for a few minutes and then we're going to put the ball down and play it," explained Gundy. "Then you guys just do your job, do what it is you do."

Very simple, put the ball down and play it as it lays. The Cowboy did that for more than 160 plays and, without slanting the advantages to either side of the ball, certainly got one of the most balanced scrimmages in recent memory and, according to Gundy, much more.

"That was one of the best scrimmages we've had here in seven years," Gundy stated enthusiastically. "It was a lot of fun for me as a coach to watch our guys compete. We had about 170 plays if you count special teams. I was really encouraged by both sides of the ball. I don't think we turned the ball over, we didn't give up many big plays on defense. We had a lot of effort and saw some young guys make some plays. It was just a lot of fun being out there for two and a half hours. We were able to let our freshmen and young players get about 40 plays. To be able to watch them function as a group out there was really exciting. It was a good night, we had great weather and we couldn't ask for anything else."

The first few series by both the first and second team offense, the ball was moved some, but the defense got off the field and it was a situation of "lay it and play it" but it was also first team offense vs. first team defense and second team offense vs. second team defense. Coaches like to call it good on good and on defense improved play up front especially with the defensive ends in Jamie Blatnick and Richetti Jones and with the tackles. Bill Young loved the play of Nigel Nicholas but also freshman James Castleman, too. The secondary according to Gundy and quarterback Brandon Weeden is as good as it has been at Oklahoma State in some time.

"No question about it," answered Gundy. "Those guys are experienced and they've played a lot of games. They play with a lot of confidence and a lot of composure. Since I've been here it is the best depth we've had in the back end of the defense."

"Really good and not to take anything away from them because they were good last year, but now they have another year under their belts and they are a lot more experienced," bragged Weeden. "They make it tough on me. They are a lot better at disguising looks. You can tell Johnny and Markelle are helping the younger guys. Zack Craig was giving everything away and going against those younger guys was like stealing but today the younger guys did a better job of disguising coverages."

And it is not just the old guys either, as cornerback Brodrick Brown pointed out that some of the younger players in the secondary are showing up a lot.

"At safety, Deion Imade, Zack Craig and Andrae May were all young guys that looked good today," Brown said. "When those guys get on the field, I get excited and yell their name."

"I thought we were physical up front and it was very productive," Gundy continued. "I was a little concerned about whether we would do a good enough job tackling by not taking them completely to the ground and I thought they did a nice job. I thought it was a clean scrimmage overall. I thought Nigel Nicholas looked good and I thought Brodrick Brown played well. Johnny Thomas showed up and Jamie Blatnick. A number of guys, Shaun Lewis and Ryan Simmons, a freshman made plays."

The first drive by the offense for a score finished with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Weeden to Justin Blackmon. They hooked up for a couple scores and several other plays in the scrimmage. It's nice to see that they are still on the same page with each other.

"That is always good when you have a quarterback that has confidence in you," Blackmon said. "Even today he said I may have a little too much confidence in you, but that is they way I like it and that he trusts me to throw the ball out there."

Weeden also hit Hubert Anyiam for a touchdown and Michael Harrison, as well. A bunch of receivers showed up in the scrimmage, including Josh Cooper, Isaiah Anderson, Colton Chelf, Tracy Moore, and freshmen Josh Stewart and David Glidden. Stewart has been good everyday this August camp and Weeden admits to having an abundance of targets.

"We are really and truly two-deep across and I don't ever remember it being like that," Weeden said. "The older guys like Cooper and Blackmon are really helping the younger guys and I tell you has a chance to make a lot of plays is Colton Chelf. He has been really good in practice and he was really, really good today."

In the kicking department it is starting to look pretty obvious that Quinn Sharp will have to do it all. That's not final. but it certainly looks that way.

Tomorrow the video gets a major review as coaches will grade it and then go over it with their players. There is no practice for Sunday, but plenty of video time. Get the popcorn and the butter out. Practice will resume bright and early on Monday morning at 8 a.m.

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