Spring Football Practice: April 4

STILLWATER – The running game continued to get a healthy emphasis on Monday as the Cowboys were out for practice No. 11 of the spring. The practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts had limited contact but lots of conditioning value as the staff put the team through several periods of simulated game conditions. At one point they even simulated a time out and then kept going with both the first units on the field.

"Everything we do in practice is based on game tempo," said head coach Mike Gundy. "When we work together we use a 25-second clock, we use the 12-to-14 seconds between plays in the no-huddle offense. Everything we do has to resemble a game. We want to put our players through game situations in practice so when we get into a game next fall it will be easier because we simulated it in practice. We worked harder today on the running game so we can toughen those guys up. It was warmer today and that was okay."

Julius Crosslin and Mike Hamilton, both running stars from Saturday's scrimmage, looked good again Monday. Hamilton used a clearing block from center Corey Curtis for a huge gain and later had another big gain on an option to the left. He also had an eight-yard pickup on a quick pitch to the right. Crosslin had an impressive five-yard carry right up the middle as he struggled through most of the defensive front. Later Crosslin broke a big gain up the middle.

The defense had its moments as linebacker Lawrence Pinson stuffed Crosslin at the line of scrimmage on a running play. Defensive tackle Walter Thomas did the same to Greg Gold on a play up the middle. The most impressive defensive performer of the day was defensive end Maurice Cummings as he sacked quarterback Al Pena on back to back plays and then came back later to sack Donovan Woods during team pass period.

The passing game struggled during the practice as neither Donovan Woods nor Bobby Reid were particularly sharp during the practice. Some of that, no doubt, had to do with the secondary which seems to get better every day. Safety Thomas Wright has had a solid spring which included an interception.

"We lost Jon (Holland) and Jamie has been out so much that we have just filled in," said Wright of the play of the safeties this spring. "I'm filling in Jon's shoes and those are big shoes to fill. I'm doing what I can to be out there and make plays. At first we started out slow and coach Bedford got on to us to watch film and see the mistakes we were making. He's been getting on to us, making us improve and get better every day while we're practicing. It's working."

They'll be back at work with the rest of the team for the final full pad practice Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. The final scrimmage of the spring will be Saturday starting at noon.

GoPokes Top Stories