Cowboys Practice Notebook

You never know right away the answer to that question. Head coach Mike Gundy was asked if he was happy with team chemistry and he said that would be answered in the first month of the season. Same with fall camp, the answer comes with the results as the season starts.

I will say this from my observations, and I think the orange glasses were off this year. I thought getting to eight wins this season would be a struggle when camp started. I now feel good about this team winning eight games.

"We are certainly as far along as we can be right now with the veteran players and then you have another category of younger players and I think they are as far along as they can be right now," Gundy said.

Night Off for the Cowboys
Since the start of fall camp the schedule has been very structured for the Cowboys with a nightly bed check and lights out around 10 p.m., and now tonight starts a degree of freedom.

"They get a chance to get away from us tonight," Gundy detailed. "They don't have any meetings and they don't have to come back until after church for a full day of meetings and academic meetings to get ready for school.

"We have to go from camp into an in-school routine so they will have tomorrow off their legs and have 48 hours, really 60 hours off their legs to try and rehabilitate their bodies and get ready to get back to work on Tuesday."

In a good question, Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World asked about whether tonight was one with no worries for a coach or one where he worries with his players going out. Haisten, but the way, is the father of a freshman student at Oklahoma State.

"We lecture them every day just like we do our own children and we just got finished talking to them," Gundy answered. "But they live in a different day and age than we did. It is no different than the conversation I have with my kids when they leave the house."

New Studio
I had a chance to tour the new studio in the West End Zone where Dave Hunziker and Mike Gundy will record the coach's show and where all the athletic department programming including game day programs on the video boards in the stadium and in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The spacious studio has a big set and a really nice control room with a 48 source Yamaha state-of-the-art audio mixer and a Ross video mixer and plenty of room for a complete production team. The facility is the brainchild of associate athletic director for communications Kevin Klintworth and Orange Power Studios director C.J. Lickert. The studio and control room are connected by fiber optics to all of the athletic facilities.

They also have and will utilize two amazing drones with HD cameras that get fantastic airborne pictures.

Receivers Making the Mark
The defensive line is one of the most talented and deep positions on the team. That is recognized but the receivers are right there with them. Gundy was asked in particular about the receivers in the scrimmage on Saturday.

"They are all making plays, (Jhajuan) Seales is making plays and Shep (Brandon Sheperd) is making plays," Gundy said. "(David) Glidden made plays and a couple of freshmen are making plays. I wouldn't say any one, because we are playing so many of them at one time, four at a time in the scrimmage. We usually play six but we played as many as nine in this scrimmage."

Spencer Names a Player to Watch
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer is notorious for not giving out names of players doing well in practice, especially young players. Spencer is a wait and see, wait some more, wait a little more and then after the season give credit to the player kind of guy.

This season he is having to play a lot of young players. After the scrimmage he named a name.

"The young linebacker that is making strides... You guys are always wanting names and I never give out names, I get that," Spencer set up. "That young linebacker is Justin Phillips. He has really showed up and he can tackle you. He will put his face on you."

Phillips played a long season as a senior at Pearland High School as they went all the way to the Class 5A state championship game before losing to Allen High School.

Could that long season have helped Phillips be ready? "Sometimes, you just see him in practice and on film put his face on people," Spencer said, saying he was not sure the senior year had as much to do with it. "I had him in camp coming out of his junior year so I got to see him move around live. He is a good player and is going to be good for us."

Connelly Feeling Better
Offensive line coach Bob Connelly still feels like he has limited depth on the offensive line with his five starters, Daniel Koenig and Zach Crabtree at tackles, Chris Grisbhy and Zac Veatch at guards, and Paul Lewis at center. He has a third tackle in Michael Wilson and Brandon Garrett is close to being ready. He identified Jesse Robinson as the third guard and Grant Canis (walk-on) and Veatch currently provide the depth at center.

Connelly admitted he really felt much better this week with the addition of two offensive line commitments. The Cowboys picked up tackle prospects Josh Jones out of Richmond (George Bush), Texas and Brandon Pertile of Mesa C.C. in Arizona.

Connelly can't comment on the two prospects that committed but he can say how happy it makes him feel.

"It does help me sleep a little easier at night to know you have three of a group of five or maybe six," Connelly said with a big smile. "Again, the recruiting is a long, long process and until you get it inked and get them here a guy can be committed here this week and next week he's going somewhere else. It is about relationship and I need to continue to develop relationships with the players and their family. Yes, I feel much better today than I did a week ago having three as opposed to one."

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