Cowboys Spring Practice Notebook

Backup "star" linebacker Lyndell Johnson made what head coach Mike Gundy called an NFL play on Monday when he picked off a now or bubble screen by plucking the ball out of the air off the quarterback just 5 to 8 yards away. Johnson was coming on a blitz and took the pass and bolted 93 yards for the touchdown. Nobody was going to get him.

The 6-4, 200-pound sophomore has tremeondous athletic ability and was a college caliber basketball player in high school at Plano East in Texas. In Wednesday's team period he picked off another pass and this time weaved his way 24 yards for a touchdown.

"He's making plays, and anybody that makes plays you can't complain," said defensive leader and free safety Daytawion Lowe. "He's doing what he needs to do to get on the field. He is making plays and that will get him out there with us."

Gruden On Big Offensive Duo in Draft
Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden traveled to Tampa to participate in the Gruden Camp at the FFCA (Fired Football Coaches Association) in a 30-minute show that has already aired on ESPN. The former Super Bowl winning coach who is now a lead analyst on ESPN's Monday NIght Football was very complimentary of Weeden and his prime target in two-time Biletnikoff Award winner and All-American Justin Blackmon during a Wednesday teleconference.

"If you don't like Justin Blackmon, then you don't like football," said Gruden in discussing the premier wide receiver in the NFL Draft. "He caught 238 passes in two years, and whenever it is man-to-man coverage they have the flexibility in their system to change any play and throw it to Justin Blackmon.

"They have a wide inventory of ways to get him the ball, up the field, underneath, they can flip him the ball, and there is not a lot that you can't like about Blackmon. He's not as big as I thought when I was watching him. I thought he was 6-6, 240 pounds and he didn't run the blazing time that I thought he would. But when you watch a film of Justin Blackmon, he is a difference maker. He is smart, heady and experienced. He is clutch in clutch situations, third down, red zone, two minute; that is the best of Justin Blackmon."

Gruden said he really liked being around Weeden when he came to Tampa to work out as the two spent time watching tape and on the board.

"I think the Oklahoma State Cowboys have the most unique offense in all of college football," started Gruden. "They do some wicked things to defenses with the no-huddle tempo, with the way they use Justin Blackmon.

"They have a good running back, but if counted it up, at the end of the day, the top 20 throws of Andrew Luck, the top 20 throws that Robert Griffin made, the top 20 throws that (Ryan) Tannehill made ... you walk away saying Brandon Weeden makes the most difficult throws in college football. He has a tremendous arm, great anticipation and a go-to guy in Blackmon.

"It is a pleasure to watch Weeden throw the football. The only downfall to Weeden is his age, and I think he is the same age I am, 48 years old," Gruden said jokingly.

Houston Nutt, Pat Jones Attend Monday's Practice
Among the visitors on Monday for the scrimmage were a couple of former Oklahoma State coaches -- both of whom coached with current Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy.

Former OSU head coach Pat Jones and former Cowboys offensive coordinator Houston Nutt sat together in a box on the south side stands watching the scrimmage. Nutt spent time speaking with Gundy and offensive coordinator Todd Monken after the practice. Nutt is currently out of coaching after being fired at Ole Miss.


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