Gridiron notes: Thursday practice report

The Cowboys went through a fast paced three hour workout that featured work on the kicking game, lots of individual drills, some split work on Nebraska, and a few live sessions tossed in.

2003 Oklahoma State Football Practice Report Thursday, August 13

STILLWATER -- The Cowboys went through a three hour practice, their only workout of the day following Wednesday's scrimmage. The NCAA mandate of only one workout allowed for time to lift weights and watch plenty of tape in reviewing the 91-play scrimmage from the day before. When they did get on the practice field it was obvious there were some sore bodies, but a spirited message from head coach Les Miles to start the workout set it on a very good pace.

"Much better practice," said head coach Les Miles as he greeted the media after the three hour workout. "From the start to the drills, a much better practice. We had good pace. It was a good teaching, situational practice."

The workout included staples like the inside drill, plenty of split work with offense and defense working against scout teams, and a couple of live periods. The inside drill along with the individual drills was very instruction oriented. There was also a lengthy special teams/kicking period early in the practice.

Inside drill had a lot more teaching and instruction than on most days. Coaches on both sides appeared to be making corrections, possibly based off the scrimmage. All three tailbacks in Vernand Morency, Greg Jones, and Greg Gold broke runs into the secondary and Sam Mayes had some outstanding blocks during the drill.

In the first live session the defense picked up where they left off on Wednesday afternoon. Defensive end Greg Richmond came crashing in on the first play as he stopped Vernand Morency for a one-yard gain. On the next play quarterback Josh Fields tried to dial D'Juan Woods up on a deep pass play only to have have cornerback Vernon Grant close ground and partially deflect the ball. The highlight play for the offense in the midfield drill was a nine-yard gain by Greg Gold who was stopped by Jamar Ransom.

In the second live session down on the goal line Vernand Morency was able to power the ball in for a running score. Backup quarterback Jamie Beeghley duplicated his touchdown run from Wednesday night when he stepped in for a touchdown. Starting quarterback Josh Fields had an excellent session throwing the football as he hit Rashaun Woods once and Gabe Lindsay twice on scoring plays. The live sessions were very short, only six plays at a time, probably because of the abundance of contact on Wednesday.

The Cowboys started the kicking session with work on field goals and it couldn't have gone better as Luke Phillips and Brent Baisden were perfect on all of their tries including a 52-yard field goal nailed by Phillips. Phillips had hit a 52-yarder in the scrimmage on Wednesday that would have been good from at least 60-yards. Ths kick today had the same kind of power.

The Cowboys then went to work on punt and punt return. Gabe Lindsay and freshmen Tommy Devereaux and Andrew Alexander all returned the ball well. Lindsay scored on a fancy return early in the work. The Cowboys also showed an unbalanced punt formation.

Les Miles didn't elaborate much on his video review of Wednesday's scrimmage except to say that it showed some good and some bad and that he felt some questions had been answered and he hopes remaining questions will clear up with Saturday's full scale mock game. Miles added that the play at the line of scrimmage was good for the most part with the exception of some penalties he wants eliminated.

There were a position developments that appeared to be a result of performances in Wednesday's 91-play scrimmage. At wide receiver D'Juan Woods was with the first offense along with his older brother Rashaun and slot receiver Gabe Lindsay. D'Juan Woods appears to have jumped back in the lead for the third receiver position after a four reception for 31-yards and two touchdown performance.

Backup tailback Vernand Morency showed up well as did Greg Jones and Greg Gold. Backup fullback Shawn Willis is improving rapidly which will help the depth at that position. The offensive line is coming closer to solidifying, and offensive line coach Chuck Moller seemed more pleased than disappointed over the play of his group.

"There were some good thing and some bad things, but we looked pretty much as I expected we would," said Moller of his o-linemen.

For now it would appear that Kellen Davis has a very good chance of moving into a starting position on the offensive line.

"He did some good things," said Moller of offensive right tackle Kellen Davis. "He's a good kid, picks things up quickly, and has been playing well."

Defensive coordinator Bill Clay said he saw some good and bad with the defense, but was very pleased that the defense has much more talent and depth in the secondary. The front seven accounted well for themselves, and like conversations immediately after the scrimmage the play of defensive tackle Mike Williams came up.

"Mike is playing well," said defensive coordinator Bill Clay. "He's a fifth year senior and he's making the most of his knowledge. We just need to get guys healthy to build our depth back up."

There were no visitors on Tuesday night when the Cowboys worked out as the Democratic Presidential Candidate Forum was being held in The Athletic Center and Gallagher-Iba Arena, but today the Cowboys had a President come by and watch them practice. No, not George Bush, Jr., but Oklahoma State President Dr. David Schmidly stopped by and spent close to an hour walking around and watching various drills. Schmidly was escorted by some of his staff, Athletic Director Dr. Harry Birdwell, and Director of Football Operations Mack Butler. Just after the OSU President arrived head coach Les Miles came over from an offensive drill to talk with Schmidly for a few minutes.

Tomorrow is the final day of two a day workouts. The morning session on Lewsi Field will begin at 8:26 a.m. That practice will be the final regular practice open to the public for the season. The afternoon practice is on the hedge field at 4:20 p.m. and is closed. The preseason camp for the Cowboys ends on Saturday at 3:20 p.m. with a full scrimmage on Lewis Field that will be open to the public.

All workouts after Saturday's scrimmage will be closed. Head coach Les Miles is determined not to give Nebraska any advantage through information released about practice and the workouts starting with Tuesday will be monitored for observers, who will be asked to leave.

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