Practice Report 12 - Cool Temps Lengthen Practice

Sunday mornings cool temperatures caused a change in plans as a scheduled trip to the pool was cancelled, and the Cowboys added an extra half hour and a longer conditioning period to their lone practice for the day. NCAA rules only allow two-a-days workouts on every other day before classes start in preseason workouts.

The Cowboys went through a two and a half hour workout that started at 10:30 a.m. at Boone Pickens Stadium. Priorto the practice the team had a chapel service hearing from popular Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader John Talley.

The obvious emphasis of the workout was teaching. The Cowboys worked on the running game and shot passing game, two-minute offense, defense and field goals. After the stretch to start, redshirt freshman Luke Roberts and true freshman Jason Ricks took turns on field goals. Ricks was perfect from 27 and 47 yards. Roberts hit a 17-yard try and then pushed a 32-yard try wide right. The two longest tries were done in quick field goal situations with the unit hurrying on from the sideline.

The Cowboys then worked on punt returns with Darrent Williams, Andrew Alexander and Prentiss Elliott. Expect Williams to have that duty all season. Special teams work continued with work on kickoff returns. There were three pairs of returners working together – Daniel McLemore with Robert Jones, Darrent Williams with Andrew Alexander, and Vernand Morency with Prentiss Elliott.

During the first instruction period, I couldn't help but notice that Prentiss Elliott was really hustling in getting his blocks. That would not be the last time Elliott would be noticed in the practice. It appears right now that the first team receivers would be D'Juan Woods, Chicjuan Mack, and the trio of walkon Luke Frazier, freshman Prentiss Elliott and sophomore Tomy Devereaux. Those players worked with the first unit in a two-minute drill against air. Elliott, again, showed up with a diving grap.

The offense and defense came together for the first of two team periods with the emphasis on two-minute offense and defense. Donovan Woods completed his first two passes, a 12-yard strike to Elliott and then a 14-yard pass on an out route to Chijuan Mack. The drive ended a couple of plays later when defensive end Marque Fountain tagged Woods for a sack.

The rest of the period was hit and miss for the offense as highlights included a long pass down the middle to Mack. Jamie Beeghley and Al Pena split time with the second offense and the best play came when Beeghley spotted wide receiver Eric Allen on a crossing route.

From there the offense and defense split up in an exchange period where the offense worked their passing game against a scout defense, and the defense worked against a scout offense. At one point during this session, head coach Les Miles stepped in and with much enthusiasm discussed blocking calls with the offense and release tactics with the tight ends. It was vintage Miles, jumping in and thoroughly discussing the situation and what had to happen in the line to make the play a success.

It was then back to the two-minute drill, and on the first play Woods hit tight end Billy Bajema with a strong heave down the middle for a 25-yard gain. After making the catch weak safety Jamar Ransom pulled Bajema down by his neck with kind of a throw move. It didn't stop the 6-5, 265-pound tight end as he came back and caught a 12-yard reception from Woods on the next play. Woods then hit tailback Greg Jones for a short gain, but the drive was stalled when Clay Coe got loose up the middle and tagged Woods for a sack.

Lawrence Pinson continued to play well at linebacker as he is having a successful return from the lower leg injury he suffered against Louisiana-Lafayette last season. Pinson said he felt the offense would come along, but is very happy with the progress of the defense.

"Definitely right now the defense has an edge on the offense," said Pinson. "The offense in time will get better. Each day we see improvement. The defense is getting better, and I'm pretty confident we are going to be very good on the defense, better than last year."

The offense came back and started another drive as Woods hit Greg Gold out of the backfield for a short gain. The next play provided the catch of the day as Woods was pressured and scrambled in order to get a pass off over the middle. Coming back for the ball, Elliott with his body momentum going one way leaned back and made a sensational catch.

Fullback Shawn Willis said he is confident that those drives will end up finishing in the end zone. It will take time and patience.

"We have a young team on the offensive side," said Willis. "The teaching and stuff is helping a lot of them. It gives me a chance to spread some of my knowledge to those guys. I think it feels good and is going to get better."

The drive did stall and Roberts and Ricks came on for field goal attempts into the enclosed east end of the stadium. Ricks nailed the first try from 27 yards before Luke Roberts went wide right from 32 yards, and then Ricks nailed a 48-yarder with distance to spare.

The second unit came on for a go at the two-minute drill and backup quarterback Jamie Beeghley was on fire as he hit Luke Frazier over the middle and then found Frazier with a 20-yard strike on the left side. Beeghley proceeded to hit two more passes in a row with a pass on the outside to Chijuan Mack and a pass over the middle to freshman tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Pettigrew and fellow rookie Justin Waller out of Ponca City have been getting plenty of reps at tight end.

The defense put the halts on the drive and the football portion of the practice ended with the entire team on the field screaming as Ricks and Roberts took two more field goal tries apiece. Ricks missed wide right on both of his trys before Luke Roberts nailed both of his attempts. All of the field goal tries came from 48 yards out.

Special teams coordinator Joe DeForest missed all of the excitement, but is expected back from Florida early this week after the death of his father.

The practice concluded with a 12-minute conditioning period. As mentioned previously, the scheduled swimming was cancelled. There will be other activities the rest of the day with meetings and then tonight the annual Camp Cowboy activities where the players here from campus and faculty leaders and learn the fight song and the alma mater.

Practice resumes with two-a-days on Monday at 8:10 a.m. and 4:10 p.m. All Oklahoma State preseason practices are closed to the general public.

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