Practice Report: Gundy Pleased With Scrimmage

STILLWATER – For the most part it was "lay it and play it" as the Oklahoma State Cowboys went through their first full scrimmage of fall camp Thursday morning, and head coach Mike Gundy liked the way it was going so well that the team exceeded the number of plays expected in the scrimmage from the mid-90s up to 118 plays.

The scrimmage was defensive dominated for the most part and did not feature a lot of downfield passing. The emphasis on offense seemed more run oriented and that was reflected in newcomer Chris Carson having the biggest play offensively of the morning breaking off an 80-yard run on the outside. Rennie Childs received some compliments from Gundy for taking on a workload and being a consistent force on the offense.

"We had a really good workout today. We had about 118 plays. Our goal was like 90 or 95. We ended up competing really well against each other, so we wanted to leave them out there," Gundy said after the scrimmage.

"The defense was running around and making plays like we had hoped. There’s quite a bit of speed on that side of the ball, so that’s exciting for our football team. Our running backs made some plays, got in space and were able to run away from the defenders."

While that happened some, the majority of the day the defense was in step or even ahead of step with the offense. There is some advantage to the defense in that they see this offense a lot in spring, in summer player-led workouts, and so far in fall camp.

"The defense always has the advantage, in my opinion, in spring ball and camp practices," Gundy agreed with the premise of my question. "They see the same formations, looks, calls, plays, snap counts, routes and different things. They have a little bit of a leg up, but offensively, there are different things that our group can do when we have to move the football."

"It is more difficult when the defense knows the weakness in our plays because they go against us every day," right guard Paul Lewis said. "They see us year round and we do have to work almost twice as hard to get our job done against our defense.

"It was 50-50 (today), defense came out with their hair on fire," Lewis said. "We answered back a few times and got some big third downs. It was give and take."

Both quarterbacks had plenty of duty during the day. Lewis said that is an advantage the offense can seize during the season with the ability to change things up by using both quarterbacks. Gundy has said that Mason Rudolph is the starter but J.W. Walsh will play and that forces opposing defenses to work on two styles of offense because it changes.

"Our offense is different when he (Walsh) is in there," Gundy explained. "We run the same plays but then there are 8-10 plays that are different than when Rudolph is in there. They are not the same quarterback like when we had [Clint] Chelf and Walsh here, they're different."

"Mason and J.W. are two different people and I love them both," Lewis said. "It could be a big boost for us with teams having to do so much to prepare for both those guys."

Ben Grogan, who Gundy said is stronger with his kicks, hit three field goals in the scrimmage, and Matt Hockett hit another. They did a couple of kickoffs and punted twice. It was primarily offense and defense and Gundy pointed out a number of names on defense, including some none starters.

"Devante Averette, who isn’t really a newcomer, but he didn’t play last year. He’s moving around well. Miketavius Jones is having a good camp. He’s been around here for a long time, but he hasn’t played a whole lot in crucial situations," he said.

"Chad Whitener is making some plays. Trey Carter is making some plays. Vincent [Taylor] is having a good camp. There are quite a few guys that are playing pretty well. Jerel Morrow has improved with a year of experience. We’ve got a number of guys that can make some plays."

Speaking of Vincent Taylor, he was one of eight players that saw some action at defensive tackle including the projected starting tandem of Taylor and Motekaia Maile. Others seeing action inside were Ben Hughes, Darrion Daniels, Eric Davis, Trey Carter, Taaj Bakai, and walk-on Tyler Ferguson.

I asked Gundy if he felt the defensive staff had found its depth chart at defensive tackle yet?

"From an effort standpoint and from a technique and responsibility standpoint, yes. I’m not really ever comfortable with a player who hasn’t played in a game. Vincent [Taylor] hasn’t played in games at key times, and [Trey] Carter is new. They’re going to have to perform in September and October. Then, I’ll be able to give a better opinion on how I think they’ve improved as players."

The news is Carter is seeing some time at defensive tackle.

Star linebacker Jordan Burton, who Gundy said was recovering from a hip flexor injury, was suited up but did not scrimmage. Of course, Kevin Peterson is out and the cornerback has started rehab to be ready for the opening game at Central Michigan. The scrimmage was also fairly clean today with college officials, some from the Big 12, working the scrimmage.

"Overall, it was a really good day," Gundy added. "We had, I’m going to guess, five penalties between the one’s and the two’s on both sides of the ball, which is pretty good. We had a couple of holding penalties and a couple of offsides on the defense. I was fairly pleased with that side of the scrimmage, but we’ve got a ways to go. I really like where we’re at right now. I like the attitude of the team, and I like their effort."

After practice Friday, a shorter scrimmage is on deck for Saturday morning.

"Saturday we need to be a little more detailed and then next week we'll be half and half with work against each other and then start working on the start of the season with scout teams," Gundy said in wrapping up.

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