Gundy: We Had Really Good Scrimmage

STILLWATER -- Fall camp wrapped up Saturday evening and if you listen to the head coach, the coordinators and the senior players that spoke to the media after the just over two-hour closed scrimmage then you would believe that this team is on schedule or even ahead of schedule in being ready for the opening game in two weeks with Mississippi State.

Head coach Mike Gundy did not put a number of plays on the scrimmage but it was similar in length to the one last week, also held inside in the Sherman Smith Training Center.

This scrimmage had a full Big 12 crew of officials including the eighth official (alternate referee). Veteran Big 12 referee Dan Romeo's crew worked the scrimmage. The number of plays may have been more than the 120 of a week ago, simply because the coaches on both sides of the ball said the offense went faster.

Gundy, however, was more concerned with quality over quantity.

"We had another really good scrimmage," said Gundy. "Competition was good, their attitudes were great, conditioning was really good. It was a sound scrimmage. We really didn't have very many penalties which I'm pleased with.

"There were good plays on both sides of the ball, players competed and we had a good day. I really like where our team is. I like their cohesiveness. I like their attitude and they are in really good shape right now, and I'm pleased with the way camp has ended. We'll give them a couple of days off (classes begin on Monday). We'll be back at it on Tuesday."

Talking to players and coaches, it was somewhat of an even scrimmage with several things standing out. On offense, the execution, substitution, and having everybody where they needed to be and at the correct time was good.

First-year offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich never mentioned the quarterbacks, and that discussion is off limits, but he instead mentioned situations that he liked.

"Just seeing different personnel, until I get to watch the film I'm not exactly sure, but calling the plays that we needed to call in order to evaluate it all on tape," said Yurcich. "As a unit coming out of our own end zone is important, got a first down there and gave us some room there and that is big.

"The twos came in and did the same. In fact, they got two first downs so that was good. Four-minute drill (end of game running out the clock) trying to make sure we have the lead (and) the game ends with the ball in our hands. That is really important and I think our fellas understood the situation and it was mistake free, penalty free, and we did real well. It's always a challenge. Everybody in the whole stadium knows you are going to run the football."

Glenn Spencer saw good and bad out of the defense. As usual with the defensive coordinator, he puts the blame on himself and not on his players.

"The negatives, on me. I can't tell you exactly when it happened but there was a check that should have been made off of a certain formation and it was in my head and I didn't share with the kids. That was on me and they hit a big play on us," explained Spencer.

"It won't happen again and I'll be sick about that all night. The good play, third and long and they had been throwing a little seam ball, out cut and this was third-and-nine. We had our first group in there and typical Shaun Lewis, got coached up, knew it was coming, broke it up and we were off the field."

The report was that the running game did well with Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland both running the ball well.

"I think it was an all right day. There are always areas to improve on, but we gained some yards," said Smith. "Overall, it was a pretty good day."

The defense made some big plays including several sacks and one by middle linebacker Caleb Lavey. In the passing game, the ball was spread out but it was apparent by comments that freshman receiver Marcell Ateman made some big plays with his 6-4, 210-pound frame.

"We have several, but the Ateman kid is playing pretty well and doing some great things," said Yurcich, obviously trying not to go overboard.

"As much as I want the defense to play well, and we had our share of plays, I'm glad to see they have guys that can make plays and they made some down there," said Spencer. "We got a lot of good ones. It's their side of the ball and all I can say is that (Ateman) kid can make a play and he doesn't look like a freshman. I just see that big, lanky guy going up after the ball and he's got skill."

Gundy said the special team played well and he felt the scrimmage was as good as last week's. He simply feels his team is ready to play and could not come up with any negatives, although the video may show some later.

They don't have to worry about it because the game is scheduled for Aug. 31 and it isn't going to change. But all of the seniors when asked said for their position group and, in their opinion the entire team, could get on the plane tomorrow and go play.

"Start of football season. I'm ready any day and it really doesn't matter," said Smith.

"I'm with him, let's go right now," added offensive lineman Parker Graham.

The most important aspect for this team the next two weeks is to stay healthy. Camp was relatively good from that standpoint and no player seemed to get hurt in the scrimmage on Saturday. Stay healthy and prepare for the Bulldogs and count down the days, hours and minutes.

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