Cowboys Football Notebook-Wednesday

Cowboys leading receiver Josh Stewart said earlier this week that he is really impressed with several of the young receivers in practice. Stewart said freshman Marcell Ateman is really impressing as are redshirt freshman JhaJuan Seales and senior John Goodlett, who was recently awarded a scholarship. Head coach Mike Gundy has been impressed with both Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples.

Last season in high school, Ateman has 84 catches for 1,584 yards and 27 touchdowns at Wylie East (Texas) High School. He is 6-4 and right around 215 pounds.

Samples, his roommate at OSU, had 62 receptions for 1,072 yards and 23 touchdowns while playing for his dad at Dallas Skyline. Samples is 5-11, 175 pounds and a speedy receiver.

"They're mature young men," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said after the Wednesday practice. "They come with a business approach, they're very serious.

"Being that talented that young and being able to focus and learn and focus on the details and be coachable is a wonderful thing. Those two young men, who they are from a character standpoint, is what's awesome about them."

"Samples is twitchy," described Yurcich. "He can really double-move you. He's great in open space and can make you miss. He's got some speed to burn, too.

"Both have good hands. Marcell is longer. He can stretch you. He does a great job on breaking down. He gets in and out of cuts well. He goes up and gets it very well on fade balls and go routes. He's a tall frame that also understands how to high-point the ball and he snatches it real well. From a physical standpoint with his height and his strength, the young guy is pretty good right now."

Sorry, It's Turf at Reliant
Oklahoma State senior assistant athletic director for communications Kevin Klintworth said Wednesday morning that our note on Reliant Stadium in Tuesday's notebook was inaccurate. Within the past year the stadium and its management subsidiary has come up with an Astroturf surface for football events hosted by the stadium other than the NFL's Houston Texans.

"We're trying to save the natural grass field for the NFL so it will stay in better condition, and yet we're trying to generate new revenue," said Mark Miller, general manager of SMG–Reliant Park in a release when the new field was introduced.

"Revenue from the synthetic turf system can recover the cost in very short order. Anything that is not the NFL, we will try to play it on the AstroTurf if the schedule allows. This would include high school and college football playoff games, the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, and others.

"AstroTurf was selected because of its flexibility - and particularly because of AstroTurf's root zone system, which guarantees a very uniform, predictable field of play," said Miller.

The surface is the same as what Oklahoma State recently installed in both the Sherman Smith Indoor Training Center and on the outdoor field adjacent to the Smith Center and next to the grass practice fields.

Oklahoma State's optimum practice site the week leading up to the opener in Reliant Stadium may be the new Sherman Smith Training Center.

We Must Protect that Ball
Oklahoma State is a Nike school so excuse the play on the UnderArmour slogan. But we did a practice report on the daily battle every day between the offense and defense of protecting the ball and seizing turnovers.

You got the feel that the defense may have gained their daily quota and more of turnovers on Tuesday the way several defensive players were talking after practice. On Wednesday, the report was the offense was better at securing the ball.

"For defense, I know they are going to get their turnovers. Those guys are excellent and they are coached up well on that," said running back Jeremy Smith.

"The coaches do a great job of teaching them how to get those turnovers and for us on offense, we just have to be smart with it. We have to have two hands on the ball at all times. The center has to get great snaps at all times. It's all about how we work at it and how focused we are at not giving up the football," he added.

Slight Differences
Now what does that mean? When Oklahoma State athletic equipment head manager Wes Edwards says there will be slight differences this season in the uniforms.

You never know what that may mean because over the years the team of Edwards, Matt "Chief" Davis, and Justin Williams have come up with some stuff on the fly or at least surprises out of nowhere. Orange helmets come to mind but also look for some different decals possibly on some of the different colored helmets as they look for ways to make both the OSU brand and the Pistol Pete logo stand out.

Edwards also said there are some uniform combinations that have not been used as of yet that could appear this season. A group of players have been assigned by head coach Mike Gundy to sit in with the equipment staff and map out the season wardrobe.

Kenny Young Watches Practice
Before heading out to check out more of campus and the Academic Center, four-star linebacker Kenny Young of River Ridge (John Curtis Christian), La., was on the sidelines watching the Cowboys go through their morning practice.

The 6-2, 225-pound linebacker is heading back to River Ridge after the unofficial visit concludes on Wednesday. He said practice for his team begins on Monday.

Young has narrowed his list of schools to 10 with Oklahoma State, LSU, Mississippi, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA, and Texas A&M also in the hunt. His search will continue.


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