Spring Football: Half-Scrimmage On Thursday

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State is finishing up spring football practice this week with a little test, a toughness test to see how players, especially the younger players that will be counted on for the first time this fall. Can they deal with a week that includes four grind it out practices that will be harder than any week they will deal with during the season?

That doesn't include fall camp in August, but any week after that, game week or open week won't include two half-scrimmages and two full scrimmages like this week.

Head coach Mike Gundy sounds like he likes what he's seeing.

"It was good. We practiced some and then scrimmaged," Gundy said. "Guys got a lot of playing time, so it was good and we've got one more tomorrow and keep on rolling.

"They're doing good. They're hungry. They're a young football team, so they're intrigued by learning and an opportunity to come out and play in a scrimmage, so it's been good."

Numbers have been reduced as you would expect with physical workouts and the Cowboys have been able to keep the process moving despite depth issues at linebacker and some on the offensive line.

The best aspect of the process is that a lot of players -- even some notable walk-ons such as slot receiver Kameron Doolittle, running back Raymond Taylor, and offensive lineman Zach Hargrove, who has moved into the two deep -- have grabbed and made good use of reps in practice.

There are still a lot of receivers seeing action and Gundy commented on the young players that are emerging as leaders in making plays in the receiver corps.

"Well, (Brandon) Sheperd's made some plays. (Jhajuan) Seales has made some plays," the head coach said. "We've got to have all of them based on how the defense plays it. Sometimes they want to play press and play a safety over the top of one guy, so they're all the same."

Friday's fifteenth and final practice will be a full scrimmage, similar to the last two Tuesdays including the one that was open to the media. Those scrimmages are as productive in their operation as they are with the action on the field, especially for a lot of players that have not seen a lot of game action.

"In a scrimmage setting, coaches get off to the side and call plays and the players have to learn to make adjustments," Gundy explained. "They've got to get lined up and they get fatigued and they've got to see signals and see adjustments on both sides of the ball. They've got to read defenses and defenses got to read formations.

"Practice is certainly important, but game time and scrimmage time and to see what players can do in a setting when it's wide open and they get fatigued and they get hit, is much more important than a practice."

Friday is the final day of spring practice, and then players will get some time to catch up and finish up the spring semester strong with academics. They will have a chance to go home for a few weeks in May and then get back for summer school and summer workouts leading up camp in August.

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