Spring Football Scrimmage: Notes & Quotes

The play of the day, well, the most exciting play of the morning scrimmage came when the offense and defense took a break for work on kickoff returns. Greg Gold, Daniel McLemore and Andrew Alexander all got work returning the kickoffs, but it was Alexander that made the crowd of 400 fans take notice.

The former Lawton High standout fielded a kick on the run at the seven-yard line and shot straight up the right sideline. At the 35, in traffic of would be tacklers, he did a 270 degree move and cut back almost all the way to the left sideline and then cut it straight upfield to complete a 93-yard return for a touchdown.

WALK-ON ALERT
Several walk-ons had a chance to shine in the scrimmage Saturday as the biggest pass play of the day was a completion from scholarship quarterback Mike Friess to walk-on wide receiver John Hudson. The pitch and catch went for 50 yards with Hudson catching the ball between defenders on the fourth defense and running another 15 yards.

Todd Nelson of Edmond North, another walk-on wide receiver, made a nice catch of a Jamie Beeghley thrown pass for a 10-yard pickup. Nelson, an All-State player at North in 2003, also came close to coming up with another good catch but was rocked between two defenders on the play. Veteran walk-on Jeromie Tucker of Bixby had some prime time work in the scrimmage, catching two passes including an 18-yarder on the final drive from Bobby Reid.

On defense keep an eye on big defensive end Chris Flowers. Because of injuries at that position, Flowers is getting a lot of work. A native of Mississippi, he had just one tackle downfield on a pass play taking down Tevin Williams. Flowers did have a sack in the shorter scrimmage on Wednesday. Veteran walk-on Seb Clements out of Sangar, Texas, had a sack on the final play of Saturday'sscrimmage as he tagged Reid behind the line for a seven-yard loss.

TIMING NEEDS WORK
The Cowboys field goal unit was clicking pretty good early in practice, but late in the scrimmage when called upon for a pair of 39-yard field goal attempts returning kicker Jason Ricks could only nail one. At the end of the scrimmage they were called out for a pair of 50-yard tries and both were hooked to the left. Ricks cannot be held totally accountable as he is working with a new snapper in Brian Jeffries and a new holder in Chase Holland.

CAN WE HAVE A MULLIGAN
There was also extensive work on the punt game during the scrimmage. While there is a good chance the punter for next season is not on campus yet, it could be either Matt Fodge or a walkon, there was one punter that stood out Saturday. Bryce Herman from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College got off three impressive boots with good distance and hang time. The only problem was his good kicks were sandwiched by shanks. Obviously, Herman needs to be more consistent to win the job, but if he could convince the officials to give him a mulligan. He never kicked two bad ones in a row, but he never string two good ones back to back either.

PETTIGREW JONES WASHINGTON ON SIDELINES
Two very talented young players that head coach Mike Gundy and his offensive staff were counting on getting plenty of time on the field are now among the injured or ill that are held out of practice. Redshirt freshman tight end Brandon Pettigrew is the latest casualty as he sprained a knee on Thursday. Pettigrew had been impressive in practices up until then. Another redshirt freshman, center David Washington of Guthrie, is out with mononucleosis. Washington's absence had a profound effect on the scrimmage as there were three bad snaps in the shotgun that really wrecked any chance of a successful play.

"You take your center out and now Corey Curtis is in there snapping the ball to the two and the ones and he hasn't done that so that makes for a difficult situation," said Gundy. "He adjusted well and it showed some maturity on his part, especially in a new system where he's trying to find out who to block much less snap. We did put the ball on the ground three or four times with the snap, but at least it was with guys that hadn't done it before."

The remainder of the injured players continued rehab and conditioning efforts under the guidance of strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass in the southwest corner of the stadium. That list includes defensive end Nathan Peterson (knee surgery), defensive end Darnell Smith (shoulder surgery), defensive end Marque Fountain (shoulder surgery), defensive end William Bell (knee surgery), defensive end Tremayne Standberry (knee scope), wide receiver Chijuan Mack (knee surgery), fullback Shawn Willis (concussion), running back Seymore Shaw (knee scope), and offensive linemen Blake Botek (knee injury).

POST PRACTICE ROUND UP
Offensive coordinator Larry Fedora has introduced a post practice activity for the offensive players that he originally started at Middle Tennessee State. He calls it the "round up."

The offensive players get into a big circle and one by one Fedora calls players to get in the middle. The player will run to the middle and face his teammates and say, "I let my team down blank number of times." The blank is determined by the position coaches who grade the film and it is not the number of mistakes they made, but the number of times a coach felt they loafed on a play. For each loaf by each player the entire offense will do an up-down. An up-down consists of running in place and then diving on the ground forward and then scrambling back up.

"I started it to hold the players accountable for their effort," said Fedora. "They are all accountable to their teammates and the entire team pays for the mistakes of each other. I had a former player there today that was there at Middle Tennessee the first time we did it. I asked him if it brought back nightmares because the first time we did it there were 158 loafs and guys were throwing up and dead tired. Today we only had 51 or 52, which is the least amount I've ever had for a first time. When we get down to 14 or 15 that means we are getting really great effort, and that gives you a chance to win."

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