Gridiron notes: Final varsity practice cut short

Tired legs key factor in Miles' decision to knock off early.

It was obvious that after four afternoons of work in the hot sun the Cowboys varsity was a little tired in the legs and ready to take the next step in the preseason of adding the group of newcomers and younger players that have been working out in the morning to the mix. Head coach Les Miles cut the final varsity only workout short a few minutes as even the coaching staff seems ready to get into the regular routine with the entire squad.

"Honestly, we're getting better, we're throwing a ton at them," said Miles. "Tomorrow we're going to go goalline, short yardage, and some live gos tomorrow in a full squad practice, and then after that day we'll have a great majority of our offense and defense in. We go forward from there. We're practicing two teams and getting twice the reps the last four days. Tomorrow will be much more spirited and much more rested.," added Miles in discussing the full squad practice in full pads for Friday afternoon.

Today's workout was more of the same as the practice followed the same schedule as Wednesday. In general, the team worked on various fronts and formations during the walk through periods. The offense spent a lot of time on screen plays with both the wide receivers and backs. The offensive and defensive lines also spent time doing some one on one work.

The offense enjoyed the first play on the inside drill as Tatum Bell used a pulling block by right guard Corey Curtis to spring through a big hole and take off into the secondary. On the next play the defense came back with a nice stop by linebacker Pagitte McGee, who is filling in for the injured Paul Duren. McGee came up and held Bell to a one-yard gain. The next play defensive end Antonio Smith came up and made a similar stop on Bell. The routine repeated itself as McGee and Coe corraled Bell on the next two plays. McGee has really been taking advantage of the time he's getting with the first defense.

"I'm getting a lot of reps," said McGee of his workload. "It's really hot, but it will be good for me for the first game. That's been my mode all my life in football (to be around the ball) and that's what I'm trying to be. I just want o make a name for our defense. I think we can really change people's mind about Oklahoma State defense."

Other defensive players that came up with stops at or near the line of scrimmage were defensive end Jerry Don Bray and defensive tackle Mike Williams. Bell did break off one more long run, and Seymore Shaw broke into the open field twice. The first time on a nice seal block by tight end Charlie Johnson that sprang Shaw off left tackle and then the second time credit Matt Hardison and Chris Akin with creating a wall giving Shaw another easy access into the secondary.

The secondary also proved to be a little more stingy with the passing game of the Cowboy offense in the seven on seven passing drill. On the first play quarterback Josh Fields zipped a strike into D'Juan Woods on the slant for a nice gain, but the next play Fields tried to go deep to D'Juan Woods only to have Daniel McLemore come over and make a big deflection. Fields did hit tight end Charlie Johnson across the middle on a nice completion. Jamie Beeghley threw the ball well but his aerial aimed at Gabe Lindsay was knocked out of Lindsay's grasp by safety Chase Holland. The defense had the better day on Thursday. Cornerback Robert Jones, safety Elbert Craig, and linebacker Pagitte McGee all broke up passes during the drill.

The defense continued during the team period as Fields opened the 11 on 11 work with an incompletion deep to D'Juan Woods. On the second play Kyle Hix and linebacker Lawerence Pinson combined to stop Tatum Bell for a short gain. The defense also disrupted the next two Fields passes, the first intended for tight end Billy Bajema and the second across the middle for Gabe Lindsay.

Wide receiver Errick McCown had a nice day with the second offense as he took a screen pass for a nice gain up the right side and then came back with a diving grab of a Jamie Beeghley pass. The theme continued to be defense as defensive tackle Clay Coe smashed into Gabe Lindsay as he was trying to get started with a wide receiver screen. Trumain Caroll at his backup defensive end spot had a thing for the tailbacks shorts as he first pulled down Tatum Bell's shorts on a carry up the middle. Later he got Seymore Shaw's shorts and then Vernand Morency. With no tackling allowed pulling on shorts was a sure way to put the halt on the tailbacks.

The offense did have one brilliant highlight and guess who was on the receiving end. Quarterback Josh Fields audibled at the line of scrimmage and then threw the deep fade up to Rashaun Woods. Woods completely faked out cornerback Darrent Williams and then retrieved the pass and easily ran it into the endzone. Woods has caught at least one pass that would go for a score everyday so far in practice.

Linebacker Paul Duren suited up again today but did very little because of his sore right hamstring. Center Ben Buie suited up and went through the walk through drills, but stayed out of contact work because of a strained ligament in his back. John Wohglemuth went through about half the practice before the vetern wide receiver put his sore knee on ice. Offensive tackle Doug Koenig was back after missing two days with the stomach flu, but he was limited in what he could participate in. There were a couple of new injuries as tight end Jesse Jackson had what looked like a shoulder injury and offensive guard Corey Curtis, who has been having a great week and is working with the starting unit, missed the final half hour of the practice with a gimpy ankle.

In the morning workouts fans have been looking for a noticeable newcomer in linebacker Victor DeGrate out of DeSoto, Texas. DeGrate is a 6-3, 230 pound freshman that is expected to play a lot. However, he has not been out there. When we asked we were told he will be soon, but he has been nursing a sore hamstrong since reporting to camp.

Linebacker Pagitte McGee was one of those wide eyed newcomers just a year ago, so with the freshmen joining the varsity in full pads on Friday he was asked if he had sympathy and might go light on the new guys.
"No, no pity for the newcomers," said McGee laughing. "It will be welcome to Big 12 football for them tomorrow."

Tomorrow as mentioned brings the entire squad together and the closed workout is scheduled for 4:20 p.m. O-State fans can see the full squad in full pads for the first time Saturday morning on Lewis Field. The general rule is the morning workouts in Lewis Field are open and the afternoon practices on the grass practice field are closed to the public. Also, the north stands have now been opened and fans can watch the workouts in the stadium from there. The south stands are still closed for construction.

Friday, Aug. 8 Full Squad Practice 4:20pm-7:00pm (closed)
Saturday, Aug. 9 Full Squad Practice 8:26am-10:34am (open)
Full Squad Practice 4:16pm-6:35pm (closed)
Sunday, Aug. 10 Full Squad Practice 10:40am-12:30pm (open)
Monday, Aug. 11 Full Squad Practice 8:26am-10:34am (open)
Full Squad Practice 4:16pm-6:35pm (closed)
Tuesday, Aug. 12 Full Squad Practice 4:20pm-7:00pm (closed)
Wednesday, Aug.13 Full Squad Practice 8:26am-10:34am (open)
Full Squad Practice 4:16pm-6:45pm (closed)
Thursday, Aug. 14 Full Squad Practice 4:20pm-7:00pm (closed)
Friday, Aug. 15 Full Squad Practice 8:26am-10:34am (open)
Full Squad Practice 4:16pm-6:35pm (closed)
Saturday, Aug. 16 Full Squad Mock Game 3:20pm-6:00pm (open)
Sunday, Aug. 17 Full Squad Practice 7:20pm-9:10pm (closed)

School starts on Monday, Aug. 18 and all practices are closed!

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