First Scrimmage Of Fall Comes Up Balanced

STILLWATER - The first scrimmage of fall camp came and went in about an hour and a half from the start of stretch to the time head coach Mike Gundy called the team up at the end. It was a good session with officials and loud music playing from the Coach's Tempo sound system in the corner of the Sherman Smith Indoor Training Center.

The offense took the opening possession behind J.W. Walsh and worked the ball consistently down the field and finished in the end zone.

Earlier this week defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer told us to check back with him on his thoughts on his defense with a mixture of a veteran defensive line, young linebackers surrounded by the experience of Ryan Simmons in the middle, and a secondary featuring talented cornerback Kevin Peterson and three new starters.

Now, today the defense did not have defensive tackle James Castleman as he was attending a wedding. In the end, Spencer wasn't elated but he wasn't depressed either.

"We had spurts of good play and spurts of breakdowns," Spencer explained adding that the defense did have a turnover on an interception by redshirt freshman corner Darius Curry. "If anybody expects us to pick up where we left off last year, it's not going to happen.

"I just told them that it's how far we can get from where we are right now to where we'll be on the 30th (of August). We have a lot of things we've got to do. Some missed tackles, some missed assignments, some technique issues, giving up explosive plays, there's too much of that going on."

Spencer sees it through defensive eyes only, although he did say he was more than happy that the offense has a lot of playmakers and the competition from the offense is very good for his defenders to match up with.

Gundy sees a scrimmage like the one on Saturday though defensive and offensive eyes, and there was enough good on each side of the ball to have Gundy in a fairly good mood when it was over.

"We really had a good day," Gundy said to a small battalion of media after the scrimmage ended. "We had a 131-play scrimmage and I thought we had good effort in all areas. The offense made some plays. The defense made some plays.

"We were able to get some special teams work (field goals and extra points) during the scrimmage. We were able to work on some return game prior to the scrimmage. The indoor (facility) was perfect for us today. It was humid but we were able to get in, get to work and get a number of plays in without completely draining our guys. We're trying to keep them hydrated over the next 10 days prior to school starting.

"It was a really good day," Gundy continued getting past the conditions and into the players effort and performance. "I thought the quarterbacks played fairly well. J.W. (Walsh) had a good day. He managed our offense and made plays. I like where we're at.

"I've always been honest, and there have been times after a scrimmage where I've thought we were terrible or I've thought we lacked focus.I thought we ran the ball effectively. Tyreek (Hill) made some plays. (Desmond) Roland showed up. We had a number of wide receivers. We had some young freshmen make some plays on offense, and I saw some freshmen on defense that showed up.

"There wasn't anything out of the ordinary from a personnel standpoint. We did get quality work with the two linebackers, which are freshmen. I thought we had some good work with our defensive linemen. We have some depth there and those guys have shown the ability to get to a quarterback.

"Overall, it was a good day. We'll finish up with meeting and such tonight and give them a few hours with family and such that come into town for the scrimmage. We'll get started after church tomorrow and get started again in the afternoon."

As Gundy said a lot of receivers caught the ball and that included David Glidden, who has continued to have a good camp. He caught several passes and was heavily involved in the offense. But he said he will yield to Tyreek Hill, who showed today that he can really play, with or without the ball.

"He’s got unbelievable talent. Everybody I talk to, they ask me about him and I say, ‘You’re just going to have to wait and see," Glidden said seemingly unable to find the exact words to describe his speedy teammate. "It’s something you can’t really describe."

It's really kind of humorous because between coaches and players they all seem to be more ready to talk about what can be improved on rather than what looked good. That, in itself, is a good sign that this team is focused on getting better.

"We have to be a little bit more consistent in every facet, whether that's pass protection, a quarterback's reads, perimeter blocking or calls up front," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich analyzed. "And we definitely have to eliminate the penalties. Too many penalties. We have to be a smart offense and limiting penalties is part of that."

"The only issue I had today was that I thought we had too many penalties," Gundy added. "When you practice nine days and you don't have officials out here - we brought the officials in and we had too many penalties. Most of them were five-yard penalties that we need to clean up.

"We had some freshman wideouts that couldn't get on or off the ball like they were supposed to. Defensively, I think we only had one pass interference. I think we had one holding call. We need to clean up those penalties because we need to be sound and function as a group. Today was a step in the right direction but we certainly need our work."

On the defensive side, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah sounded down in the mouth afterwards. Again, that is a good thing as the sophomore is putting more pressure on himself and the entire defense and he wasn't happy with this scrimmage at all.

"I think the offense did a great job and I think the defense still needs work," Ogbah said in a serious tone. "It’s a good thing this was the first scrimmage and we have more left and we get a chance to improve."

That is an attitude that Glenn Spencer will tell you will help as he works with his blend of veterans and lots of youth to get that done before the Cowboys play Florida State.

Fall camp heads into its second full week on Monday after the first off day of camp on Sunday. There is no practice Sunday but meetings and a look at the scrimmage video. Monday will be the first of three two-a-day practices in the upcoming week that should grind this team to a sharpened point before classes begin at Oklahoma State on Monday, Aug. 18.

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