The Cowboys started their first two-a-days practice day of the preseason with a fast paced, two-and-a half-hour workout on Boone Pickens Stadium. The wakeup call came early at 6:35 a.m. this morning and the practice began at 8:10.
It was a typical schedule that included some special teams work. Punter Cole Farden continues banging the heck out of the football. He has punted well all week and is getting both distance and an average of around 4.4 seconds hang time on his punts. Several players are being tried at punt returns including Andrew Alexander and newcomer Prentiss Elliott, but there is no question that the chore will belong to Darrent Williams this season.
Following individual period with the offensive linemen working on run blocking and the defensive linemen working on run stopping, there was another inside drill. The offense broke a couple of runs, but the defense was getting consistent stops of two to three yards.
The team period toward the end of practice was focused again on the running game and short passing situations. The defensive line stepped out again as senior defensive tackle Clay Coe, sophomore 300-pounder Brad Girtman, Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, Darnell Smith and newcomer Walter Thomas held control of the middle. Coe had an excellent practice. Girtman made several stops, and Walter Thomas may have had his best play of the past two days as he plugged the middle on a dive play and forced the back to junk the hole and go wide. The coaches showed their approval on that play with plenty of enthusiasm.
There were several runs the offense had as highlights. Vernand Morency broke a few runs for solid gains. Greg Jones took an off tackle play and bounced it outside and went untouched down the field. The best run inside came on a give right up the gut with newcomer Mike Hamilton breaking several tackles and showing some good tough running.
The passing game was tough as the secondary and linebackers did a good job of preventing many open receivers. Quarterback Donovan Woods showed maturity beyond his years by throwing several balls out of bounds. Woods also got trapped in the pocket and went into an improvised scramble that allowed him to at least get back to the line of scrimmage. It was the best no gainer of the day as Woods made himself real slippery from the defense, but finally, was boxed in at the line of scrimmage. The tight ends showed up as Billy Bajema and Charlie Johnson each had a couple of short receptions.
It was tough to evaluate the receivers except for their blocking, but the work on the passing game will pick up over the next week.
After player and staff meetings this afternoon, the team will return to the field for a slightly longer workout starting at 4 p.m. All Cowboy practices are closed to the general public.
Practice Report 10 - Defense Continues to Shine
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