Another Day In Helmets And Shorts

STILLWATER - For the second day in a row and as part of the NCAA-mandated acclimatization policy the Oklahoma State Cowboys practiced Saturday morning in helmets, shorts and jerseys. It's just hard to get a lot of evaluation done in limited mode because football is a contact sport played with pads on for protection.

You can see if players know where they are supposed to go and it's possible to judge basic skills such as throwing, running, jumping and catching. Speaking of catching, the oohs and aahs came out early with some of the spectacular catches made in drills and 7-on-7 work by the likes of Charlie Moore, C.J. Curry, Josh Stewart and John Goodlett, just to name a few. Goodlett is a transfer from Indiana State who made a very positive impression in the spring.

So, what exactly is the head coach watching for in these early practices? He admitted on day one that the young receivers caught his eye. Okay, so what else?

"Just watching the players and watching their mental approach - getting on the field, getting off the field, paying attention to the guy in front of them," said Gundy of his observations. "We really stress the importance of taking advantage of every day and every play. Unfortunately, there's always a bit of a letdown when it comes to no pads.

"I went down and watched a lot more defense and a lot more of the big guys, and I kind of forgot how hard it can be to watch them when there are no pads," added Gundy on where his eyes were focused during the practice. "They just get in the right spot. I like the young players in our class – a really skilled group that has a chance to mature and develop in the next year or two."

Saturday's practice which also included a lengthy 11-vs.-11 team period at the end of practice which went right to time as the players and coaches walked off the practice field just after 10:05 a.m.

Friday's first practice ran a little longer, but on Friday morning the team caught a break with some serious sun block from a huge pair of clouds. The break from the sun lasted almost an hour. Saturday there was no break and the temperature was up to 90 degrees shortly after it started.

"I thought they were a little bit better today than they were yesterday, but they should really be better tomorrow when we get into pads," said Gundy in relation to the heat and he is being very hopeful on Sunday.

The whole process of building the team and bringing out the best in certain players is in its infancy. So much of this team is about raw talent and bringing that talent along such was with quarterback Wes Lyunt, the freshman wide receivers, and the young defensive weapons.

As Gundy said earlier, players have to take advantage of every day to improve individually. The process of the entire group getting better takes longer.

"We have a lot of team speed," said Gundy. "The attitude and the chemistry all starts in the next practice when we're out there in pads and it gets good and hot. Then even a week from now after we've been in it for about eight or 10 days and you have the same pads and guys are sore. That's where you develop your team chemistry. You watch it a little closer than how we're watching it now."

This is a busy day for the coaches and players as they had meetings after practice, lunch, two hours of autograph signing at Fan Appreciation Day, and then for the older players there was plenty of talking to be done at media day.

The next practice is at 8 a.m. Sunday.


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