All three quarterbacks threw the ball well. Tyreek Hill had a couple of plays that showed what he can when he gets into the open field with his speed. The receivers caught the ball well with Jhajuan Seales, David Glidden, and freshman James Washington making some plays.
The offense finished with a spirited two-minute drill with Brandon Sheperd catching a pass. Defense had its high points too. The pass rush up front was solid and the secondary made some nice plays. It was one of those good all around practices.
"We had a good day in practice today, and it was our first day in pads," head coach Mike Gundy said. "Our effort, our enthusiasm and the players' attention has been really good. I'm pleased with where we're at.
"Our message to them over the last few days, which will continue for the next few weeks, is that we need to get a little better every day. We need each drill and each team setting to improve. I think they're buying into that aspect of it, and we have a number of young players that are getting better. I see some signs of improvement since the first time they went out there. That's encouraging.
"We had nine players, I counted, on the second team today that are true freshmen, basically. Those guys are going to have to play, so I'm encouraged in that area. We've got a long ways to go, but the team is getting better and the attitude is great."
"It's a good feeling to get back in pads," weak side linebacker Seth Jacobs said. "Everyone's flying around. Everybody's getting more reps. Everyone's working hard and trying to get their assignments right."
Jacobs is one of those defenders that has to try to stop Tyreek Hill. Hill continues to be a catalyst as he was developing in the spring and Gundy thinks he is improved and better since the spring, It is clear he is stronger from the summer program and he may be faster in that he is not coming off an indoor track season like he was in the spring.
"Well, he's still fast, and he seems to be more durable," Gundy said. "You're always concerned when you have a really talented track athlete who plays football, but he has made strides.
"His attitude is really good, and that's important at that position. He's considerably better now than he was in the middle of the spring. We'd have to go way back, and there hasn't been anybody recent."
"Yeah, I've seen him. He's doing a great job, and he's picking up the offense real well," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich added. "The little things need to get ironed out, but Tyreek's doing fine and progressing well."
"The guy that he reminds me of a little bit is, although he's much thicker and heavier, would be Rafael Denson, but he's faster than Rafael Denson," Gundy said remembering he coached Denson as both a running back and a slot receiver. "I don't know if these guys were even born when Rafael Denson played, but he's the only guy I can think of that can get in the same category of the type of athlete that Tyreek is at this time."
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer seemed okay with the practice although he was clear that he is not going to be over complementing the defense anytime soon. There is a lot to be accomplished on that side of the ball.
"We've been showing some intensity, some juice and some emotion," Spencer described of his defenders. "We've done a good job of that.
"I thought today, at first, that we didn't have that edge coming out to practice, but as the day went on, we got better. Then, there's the mental mistakes, which have a collective accountability out there. There's a responsibility to get it right, which you realize can be a process as coach."
The Cowboys will go in full pads on Wednesday, be back in helmets and shoulder pads on Thursday, full pads Friday morning and then helmets and shorts for the second practice Friday as it is two-a-days, the first of four in fall camp.
Gundy said the team would scrimmage on Saturday. "We'll go full team, but we really won't tackle to the ground. We don't ever do that, but we'll have a majority of the practice be a team competition on Saturday."