Gundy Pleased With Scrimmage

STILLWATER -- Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy was the time keeper on Saturday night as the Oklahoma State football team went through its first scrimmage of the fall camp. Gundy's team is picked to win the Big 12 in the media poll, so how much did he want to see from the Cowboys? He must have liked what he saw as the scrimmage went a little longer than originally anticipated.

"We had a good scrimmage," started Gundy. "We had about a 120-play scrimmage and we had great attitude. I'm really pleased with the effort and attitude of the players.

"I was pleased there were good plays on offense and there were good plays on defense. We had a few miscues, but for the most part it was a clean scrimmage. The quarterbacks played well and the guys on defense we would expect to play well competed and made plays."

Going into fall camp, the head coach said there were two critical areas that needed to be develop or at least improved since spring. Those two positions are defensive end and running backs, especially depth at the running back position.

"We made some strides at defensive end spot and made some strides at the running back spot," added Gundy. "I'm very pleased and we'll give them tomorrow off and then get back at it on Monday, and get into a routine for the next five days."

As for opinions on both sides of the ball. The defense is new in what nickel safety Zack Craig says is both attitude and scheme, a little of both. The defense, according to Craig and middle linebacker Caleb Lavey, has had a good first week of practice and they had their share of success Saturday night.

"We'll look at the tape and see some specifics," started defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. "I was mainly trying to demand exceptional effort and try to win the battle of mental errors, substitution errors, and things like that. I think for the most part that was good.

"I saw some guys make some outstanding plays. Turnovers were good and also saw us give up some combinations on some routes, some mental busts there. I saw defensive linemen running sideline to sideline and some tremendous breaks on the ball. I saw us give up some big plays and that is why it is practice and they have some good guys on that side of the ball and they execute too. There was a little good and bad."

Spencer lamented two touchdowns that came against a third defensive unit that was inexperienced and running the Cowboys' base defense.

He said a long touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Marcell Ateman and a long run that set up a score by freshman running back Corion Webster were good plays by the offense. He also noted that while his unit had some sacks and forced some turnovers the first and second offensive units hit some big plays and had some drives.

"I saw some young guys and what they are all about, running backs and receivers that you don't really know until the lights come on as to how they are going to execute and that was good," said offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, perhaps referring to Ateman and Webster.

"I saw some good play and I saw some bad play, and you are going to have some ups and downs, peaks and valleys. The big thing is working through that and make sure these guys have good attitudes."

Players want to win the practice, win the scrimmage, win the day, but senior Calvin Barnett can appreciate and understand this is one big team going against each other.

"I thought it was pretty good and I thought the offense, even though it was against our defense, they made big plays," said Barnett. "I liked that we had players that stepped up and made big plays. We looked pretty technique sound until we watch film."

"I felt good," said Craig. "I had a dropped pick and had good coverage on it but lost focus on it in the air. I feel good. I feel 100 percent."

In the end, it was good enough that the head coach didn't seem to want it to end and waited a solid hour and a half and 120-plus plays to blow the big note on the whistle to end the scrimmage. It's good when the head coach is happy.

"I had in my mind what I wanted to see, and then in the scrimmage about half the time it works out that way and about half the time it doesn't," said Gundy. "Today I was very pleased."

The biggest star of the scrimmage may have been the building it was in. Gundy wanted it hot, and variations of fans and how much to allow breeze into the facility made it hot. It also had all the comforts coaches want to view and communicate just like a game.

"We used our indoor facility and what a beautiful facility," said Gundy of the Sherman Smith Training Center, which has been used the last three days because of wet grass practice fields. "This is the first time we used it in a setting like that. Golly, it was awesome being in there."

"It's always nice to get off the field and work our operation and have some guys up in, it's not a box, would you call it a crow's nest up there in the indoor," said Spencer. "It worked good."

The schedule actually makes the Sherman Smith Training Facility even more valuable. Indoor games deserve indoor preparation.

"We're playing the first two games indoors, you know there is an advantage in that in that there should be a controlled climate and we have that in the indoor and it simulates being in a dome. We did not turn the fans on which kept it warm in there, which we needed," said Gundy.

Sunday is an off day, but Monday is another two-a-days work day. There are three in the final week of fall camp with two practices on Wednesday and Friday leading to another scrimmage on Saturday.

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