STILLWATER – Remember yesterday's practice report and defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer lamenting that the defense gave up some plays to some good players, and that the practice was bad and good because of it. Usually, if there is talent on both sides of the ball during a Division I college fall camp the practice pendulum will swing one way on one day and then back to the other side of the ball the next.
Tuesday in full pads for a close to two and a half hour practice the pendulum swung over more to the defense. It's not a bad thing. Every practice has to have a winner, be it by a bunch or maybe so slight. It is good when the wins and losses even out with your offense and defense. Honestly, I prefer and believe it is better when the defense maintains an advantage and I think that is the case in the Cowboys fall camp. There are definite advantages the defense has in camp, so I like to see them win a little more.
Today saw some good plays for both sides of the ball, but a few more defensively.
"So far, so good. We're getting into practice…seven, eight or nine, so guys are starting to get a little tired, a little banged up with some bumps and bruises," defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements said. "That's just kind of training camp stuff that they need to be able to push through.
"I think they're doing a good job. Everybody's working hard. I think that the depth could be good this season. We need to increase the level of leadership. We need to be able to push through some tough times here in training camp and build the character we're going to need to carry us through the season."
In Tuesday's first team period the defense started off with a breakup as Rudolph was looking for a deep route to Jhajuan Seales. Safety Jordan Sterns came flying up to stop a run in the backfield for a loss. Defensive tackle Eric Davis had a deflection on a Taylor Cornelius pass attempt.
The secondary had the Cowboy receivers covered up on another pass play forcing Rudolph to take off on a run, and safety Derrick Moncrief had another play where he came downhill hard for another tackle for loss. Cornerback Darius Curry was noticeable in coverage and is doing a good job. The pass rush was effective as Rudolph, Cornelius, and Kolar had to get passes off on time or throw the ball away or scramble.
There was some success in the running game with Chris Carson coming up with a nice gain when he caught a pass in the flat and the offense did a nice job of sealing the defense inside. Carson, Rennie Childs (on a couple of carries), and Barry J. Sanders had solid runs from scrimmage in the team period. The biggest pass play came on a short route outside from Rudolph to walk-on receiver Obi Obialo, who literally ran a circle and avoided the defenders to break it off for nice yards after the catch.
Inside or middle drill was better for the defense as well. Defensive tackles Motekiai Maile and Vincent Taylor both got off blocks into the backfield to stop runs before they could get untracked.
"I think Vincent's doing a good job of being a leader for us. I think (Motekai) Maile is doing a good job," Clements said after the practice. "Leadership is two-fold. You've got to lead from the front, and you've also got to lead from behind. We've got to get some young guys to do that also."
The defensive ends showed up with Trey Carter having a good day. At linebacker, middle man Chad Whitener, weak-side linebacker Gyasi Akem, and freshman star Calvin Bundage all got noticed. The defensive ends and linebackers have all been competing pretty hard throughout fall camp.
"It's got to sort itself out," Clements said of the young defensive ends and junior college transfer Tralund Webber "We've got a lot of guys competing right now. Probably five guys stand out right now, between Trey Carter, Jarrell Owens, Jordan Brailford, Cole Walterscheid and Tralund Webber, so it's got to sort itself out. There are some guys to choose from but we're going to need some guys to step up to help us win on Saturdays."
Tomorrow the team gets a little bit of a break with a morning walk through that will focus a lot on special teams. The team will be in helmets, jerseys, and shorts. In the afternoon there is a presentation to players from the NFL as well as meetings and another walk through.
Clements feels good about his crew but there is still a lot of work to be done and improvement to pull out of the players before the season gets underway.
"Just consistency and toughness; coming out to work every day to see if you can get a little bit better, and being a little bit better when we leave the field than when we walked on it," Clements said of what he is aiming for and coaching to his guys. "We're really trying to be professionals at this sport. It's more than just practicing hard. It's also getting into the film study, understanding the plays, understanding the concepts, understanding what they're going against and just trying to mature as we go through this process."
After tomorrow the rest of the week and fall camp will be a grind with three of the final four days in full pads and a Saturday practice in helmet and shoulder pads.