It's a coach's mechanism and it has kicked in this week for the Cowboys. Now Wednesday's practice was only about an hour and 40 minutes long but don't let that fool you as there was plenty of football going on including a long team period to wrap it up.
The offensive line continues to be the source of some positive answers for Gundy, ranging from the starting five, some development with the back-ups, and two young linemen that redshirted last season in tackle Matt Mucha and guard Lemaefe Galea'i.
Gundy is extremely happy the way his new coaches have come in and adapted and are coaching up their units. That is very much the case with former Buffalo Bills assistant Greg Adkins and how he is working with the offensive linemen.
"I think overall it was a good day," Adkins said when asked about the Wednesday practice. "I think we got a little bit better. We had a couple situations that we’ve been emphasizing, obviously, with red zone and two minute, and I saw some progress there in those two areas offensively. Nine on seven, our inside run period, was a little down today, which disappointed me, because we’ve been doing pretty well there."
While Gundy has seen a lot of the answers he was looking for on the offensive line, he would probably agree with Adkins that they are not the finished product yet. The improvement since last season and even the win in the bowl game over Washington's tough defensive front is impressive. It's just not where Adkins wants it to be yet.
"No, not yet. I think they’re still getting used to me and the way I coach and the way we approach things. Obviously, getting used to playing beside certain guys and that sort of thing," Adkins explained. "I think we still have a ways to go there, but I like the progress we’ve made."
Our observations have seen UAB behemoth transfer Victor Salako at left tackle, Michael Wilson at left guard, Brad Lundblade at center, Jesse Robinson at right guard, and Zach Crabtree at right tackle as the starting unit. Honestly, that is the five I would have projected to be in the top five.
Adkins wants to keep it competitive into and probably through a lot of fall camp.
"I think it’s still wide open. I think there’s a couple guys, probably, that at the end of the day we kind of know that they’re going to be there," Adkins said. "I’d like to look at some different combinations, but our overall depth hasn’t allowed me to do that.
"We’ve only been working really with 10 guys in the spring. You look at guys maybe that’s playing guard out at tackle for a period or something of that nature, or a center playing guard or a guard playing center, so just the lack of personnel overall has not allowed me to mix and match some of the things that I’d like to at least take a look at."
The Cowboys will be back at it Friday with a practice that could likely be mostly a short scrimmage. T. Boone Pickens is expected to be there.
The media will have a chance to talk to players beforehand. There is also a good chance that head coach Mike Gundy will outline the plans for the April 18 Orange Blitz and spring game. Gundy and director of football operations Mack Butler, senior associate athletic director Kevin Klintworth and others will meet Thursday to outline a format for the event.
As for Adkins, he knows what he wants to see in the final four practices including the Orange Blitz Saturday.
"I think just continue on the path that we’re on because I have seen progress in small increments," the veteran coach said. "As long as they’re still gaining the toughness of learning how to work on a daily basis, that’s all I can ask for."
Friday's practice will be number 12 and leave a week to go in spring practice. By the way another interesting event going along with the spring game and Orange Blitz will be an Oklahoma State athletics tag sale in the auxiliary gym in Gallagher-Iba Arena. Merchandise from the athletic department ranging from jerseys, polos, shoes, cleats, equipment bags, and even horse saddles from the equestrian team will be for sale. Cash sales only and all sales final as the event will run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.