The Cowboys, particularly the offense, got off to a tough start but eventually turned things around for an up-beat feel as play came to a close.
"The scrimmage started slow for our offense. Their tempo wasn't very good and our best players weren't in the right spots making plays," coach Mike Gundy said. "Our defense did well early and then, as the scrimmage moved along, the offense started making a few plays and the same guys started showing up.
"I thought our running backs ran hard and took care of the football; obviously, Weeden threw the ball well. The key receivers, once we got going, made some plays for us."
Senior quarterback Brandon Weeden agreed with his coach's assessment of the offense but was encouraged by what they were able to accomplish once they got the ball rolling.
"I think offensively we started a little slow. We are doing different situations; we aren't kicking it off and playing from the kick," Weeden said. "We had some three and outs, got a first down, and went three and out after that. It was not the way we wanted to start it, but once we had some guys make some big time plays (offense is all about momentum) and we scored every time we touched it and it got better as it went on."
The offense worked mainly on two tight end sets and short yardage situations, while also keying in on third-and-long and second-and-10 scenarios.
Weeden said some of the early struggles were based out of the fact that they were working so much on certain areas.
Even though the start to the morning didn't go as well as the Cowboys' head man had hoped, he did single out several players who made a positive impression during the final action of camp.
"I thought Clint Chelf played well. I thought he handled the second team offense well; some of those guys made some key catches," Gundy said. "We continue to have guys that start to show up. I thought Ryan Simmons played well as a freshman. I thought Herschel Sims and Desmond Roland– both freshmen running backs - both made some plays. Andrae May continues to make plays. I thought Nico Ornelas made a few plays on defense. Obviously, Markelle Martin showed up a few times."
And again, while the offense had a slow start, Gundy said by taking the entire camp into consideration, he is pleased with where the offense stands compared to a year ago at this time.
"I think we're every bit as far along as we were at this time last year," Gundy said. "Again, I think Brandon Weeden is a much more polished quarterback, as you would expect. He has 14 games experience, a lot of practice and he's put a lot of time and effort in it. It's the same things I talked about during camp, Justin Blackmon and Jeremy Smith and Levy Adcock and Grant Garner and those key players that lead the football team, they're practicing extremely hard. Because of that, they're pretty far along."
"Early in the scrimmage, Michael Harrison kind of stole the show and really showed what he can do when he's focused," Gundy said. "Mike has a lot of ability and continues to mature, not only as a player, but as a person. And Isaiah Anderson made some nice plays and showed some explosion. We brought him in for that."
Blackmon said the current connection between the QBs and receivers is a positive sign, but an expected one because of the work they've put in with one another.
"The chemistry is good with all of the quarterbacks," Blackmon said. "We run a lot of routes with them and spend a lot of time with them and it's led to us getting a lot stronger. We are very confident in our quarterbacks."
Engines ran pretty hot on the field today with one of the main talking points being a scuffle between linebacker Alex Elkins and receiver Justin Horton. Gundy went as far as to say ‘I love it' because of the tenacity and competitiveness it shows even on the practice field.
Weeden agreed that it can be a positive as well and it doesn't need to be read in to as anything more than competitive fire.
"I think it is good to a certain extent. I think guys are just competitive, and when you are playing football guys are going to get pissed off and that's going to happen," Weeden said. "That's when it takes other guys to jump in there and break it up and not let it affect you the next play. There are rules. If you throw punches, you are going to get tossed. Coach Gundy is real strict about it, and we know better than that, but it kind of gets you fired up. You go along and guys who have been competing against each other for 14 or 15 days; it's just part of it. I think it's a good thing to a certain extent. You just can't let it get carried away where it affects you for two or three games."
Speaking of Elkins, the linebacking corps had another strong showing, which Gundy said is a positive sign as the team exits fall camp much more comfortable with the linebackers than they were even two weeks ago.
"Glenn Spencer has done a tremendous job with those guys," Gundy said. "We've had a couple of guys miss practices because of bumps and bruises, which doesn't help, but we are getting better, working hard and have a great attitude."
The Cowboys have a film session Saturday afternoon before they get the next two days off to begin school on Monday. They'll be back on the field Tuesday as game preparation starts for the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 3.
Overall, it was a highly productive fall camp and OSU has ironed out a lot areas of concern and the areas that were already strong proved themselves as such. Add in another high-impact freshman class and the Cowboys are in a great spot exiting camp as the season draws ever closer.