Spring Practice: First Practice In Full Pads

After an extra day following spring break before getting back on the practice field the Oklahoma State Cowboys were in full pads for Tuesday's workout. Because of some class conflicts with a few players the team started the practice at 4 p.m. and went a little over two hours. It appeared all the Cowboys made it back from spring break in good shape as there weren't any noticeable absences.

While the team was in full pads for the first time it wasn't an all out physical practice like sometimes takes place when the pads come on. In fact, with the heavy emphasis on drills it was more like a conditioning practice to get the players used to having full pads on again. They went through a lot of drills and there was lots of work on the inside drill with the run game. That part of it was physical.

Oklahoma State athletic media relations spoke with cornerback coach Tim Duffie and did use a question that we suggested on the battle for the starting cornerback position opposite senior to be Kevin Peterson. Ashton Lampkin missed most of last season with an injury and Ramon Richards worked into that spot and was pretty good by season's end with 42 tackles and three interceptions.

"We open this thing up on defense to create some competition, because we have some depth and to keep Kevin (Peterson) on the edge; not let him relax," Duffie answered. "We're confident that he can play in this league. He's proven that, along with Ashton (Lampkin) and even 18 (Ramon Richards), but the one thing that we want to do is take them to another level and compete as a whole and make the group better."

Duffie said he felt the practice was pretty good coming off of spring break. One of the reasons that head coach Mike Gundy waited an extra day was to let some of the distractions go away with spring break stories and seeing teammates and friends for the first time.

"I thought it was good coming off of spring break," Duffie said of the practice. "I thought the intensity was good. We were a little rusty tackling-wise, from the standpoint of it was our first padded practice, but the effort was there. We've got clean up some fundamentals, approaching the ball and help our offense get better."

Duffie was coaching safeties last season with Van Malone handling the cornerbacks, and now Duffie has moved over and Dan Hammerschmidt is handling the safeties. Duffie was asked about the difference between the inside and the outside defenders in the secondary.

"Obviously, it's individual position technique, but at the same time, within our scheme we're playing man-to-man," he said. "Our corners are lining up at the line of scrimmage and press probably 85 percent of the time. Just refining yourself as a coach and getting technical at that specific position has been the challenge.

"Our biggest deal is we talk about explosive plays and try to minimize balls being thrown over our head. Obviously, that's the No. 1 goal. We want to leverage the ball in the run game, but the biggest thing for us is to get turnovers. If we can get the ball back for our offense and develop the mentality that we're going to take the ball away from the (opponent's) offense, that's the deal we're trying to do."

It's expected that the Cowboys will be in full pads again on Wednesday, which is a media access day with Gundy and players doing interviews after the practice.

There were a couple of spectators at Tuesday's practice as Midwest City Carl Albert linebacker Nate Christmon III and his father, a former teammate of Mike Gundy's at Midwest City were at the practice. The younger Christmon has expressed an interest in walking on at Oklahoma State next season.

A 2016 quarterback prospect out of Florida in Augie DeBiase was also watching the practice with his dad and younger brother. The DeBiases came from Florida and were in Norman watching OU practice on Monday.

Augie DeBiase is 6-1, 218 pounds and plays now for Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Fla., very close to Jacksonville. In his sophomore season playing at Providence High School he completed 114-of-179 passing for 1,760 yards with 17 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. DeBiase has scholarship offers from Indiana and Virginia Tech.

The Cowboys fifth spring practice will be Wednesday and they will finish out this second full week of spring football with a practice on Friday.

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