Inside Receivers Young But Talented

STILLWATER - The first day in full pads featured some short yardage and goal-line work, so it was only natural that the Cowboys mixed it up with some spread and passing on Wednesday including some work on the two-minute offense. Of course, the offense is a three-day install, so Wednesday represented the completion of the second series of installing the offense.

There are three more practices, one Thursday and two on Friday with the first day of two-a-days, before Saturday's scrimmage.

Witnesses called it a day of give and take between the offense and the defense, some good plays going one way and then some going another.

Young players continued to make themselves known as freshman cornerback Kevin Peterson of Wagoner made several good plays. Peterson and his teammates at Wagoner won a state championship in Boone Pickens Stadium last season.

On offense the freshmen receivers are showing up quite a bit including inside receiver Blake Webb of The Woodlands.

"Blake's going to play," said inside receivers coach Doug Meacham. "There's no question. He's so fast and he's picking up the offense well for a guy that's only been here six days, not counting the summer. He's in the rotation right now, so we're counting on him."

Webb has played well so far in camp, but so have Josh Stewart and Blake Jackson. Stewart contributed a lot last season as a freshman and Jackson was an All-American out of Scottsdale (Arizona) C.C., who arrived in the spring and has really improved his ball-catching and holding on after the catch.

Stewart is Meacham's only real veteran. Could Stewart turn out to be the Cowboys top receiver this fall? "He could be, maybe in the catch department because he's going to catch a lot of stuff underneath," answered Meacham. "He can make people miss.

"He's a shake-and-bake kind of guy, a Wes Welker-type that's a checkdown guy. A second or third option guy that can make a five-yard catch into 15 yards. He's probably going to catch a lot of balls."

And how about Jackson's improvement? "He's lost 20 pounds. He's lighter on his feet, he runs routes better and his endurance is better," responded Meacham with regards to Jackson, who was actually an All-American tight end in junior college.

"He's a long kid and he's doing a lot of good things for us. Last spring, he leaned toward maybe a tight end look, whereas now he leans more toward a big receiver look. He's looking a lot better."

While it is all encouraging there is a lot to learn and a lot to get squared away before even Saturday's scrimmage and certainly before the start of the season on Sept. 1 against Savannah State.

"Playing fast and getting used to the speed of the game because we are a no-huddle, high-tempo offense, so we go as fast as we can," said Meacham. "Particularly at my position where I've got so many young guys. They've got to learn the speed of it, how to line up, how to get your eyes in the right place, maybe be able to reload. That's a big adjustment for the young guys.

"Josh Stewart is the only one that has game reps. We've got guys that communication-wise and tempo-wise are adjusting a lot. When you know what to do, you play faster. When you're unsure, you play slower. That's the other issue, just adjusting to tempo and guys learning their assignments so they can play fast."

The inside receivers are so young that they are probably a little too early to worry about the pro scouts, but the NFL folks have been in Stillwater the last few days. Scouts from the New England Patroits, New York Jets, Houston Texas, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans have passed through on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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