Practice Report 2: Celebrity Day at Cowboy Camp

The wave of celebrities started at 4:15, 30 minutes before practice officially started, when Houston Nutt, former Oklahoma State quarterback and assistant coach and current head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, walked through the gate to survey the new grass practice fields. It continued about 45 minutes later when OSU alum and billionaire Boone Pickens and new wife Madeline Paulson walked in to check out some of practice.

Pickens and Paulson had their dogs - Murdock and Oliver - and watched a few minutes of the practice before departing. Later head coach Mike Gundy left practice about 30 minutes before it was over to have a private dinner with Pickens and his new wife. Pickens seemed to be pleased with what he saw of the usage the Cowboys are getting out of the new practice fields which he helped pay for with a donation in the spring.

Houston Nutt was in town to watch his 16-year-old daughter compete in the Mid-America Youth Basketball National Championship Tournament being held in Stillwater and throughout north central Oklahoma. Nutt had reunions with Mike Gundy, Doug Meacham and Curtis Luper, all players that were at OSU when Nutt was an assistant coach. Nutt returned to Fayetteville later Friday where he will greet his squad returning for check in Saturday. The former Cowboy player and coach was impressed with the changes he sees at Oklahoma State.

"It was good to see Mike (Gundy), Rob Glass, Doug Meacham, Curtis Luper and Mike Holder," said Nutt. "It gets your juices flowing. It make you real proud as an alum to come back and see the remodeling of Gallagher-Iba and the stadium, the bricks, everything. It is beautiful and they have done a tremendous job."

He also said he would love to see the former traditional series between the Cowboys and the Razorbacks revived.

"I really would, that would be great," added Nutt. "We're playing the Texas's and USC's, why not come over here and play?"

As for practice it was more of the same for the Cowboys in helmets and shorts. The early work on the passing game was targeted to running back screens and the coaching staff had to be pleased with the way Mike Hamilton, Julius Crosslin, Calvin Roberts and Greg Gold were catching the ball. All four appear to have worked on their hands over the summer. Gold, as he was in the spring, was very sure handed as a receiver.

The offensive line got a lot of work on run-blocking schemes as they reviewed the run game playbook throughout the practice, sometimes on their own and sometimes with a backfield to help in creating timing in the running game. For this early in practice the timing and execution of the run game appears very sharp. In mock inside drill work the back pairings are as follows: fullback Shawn Willis and tailback Julius Crosslin, fullback John Johnson and tailback Mike Hamilton, and fullback Jared McCoy with tailback Calvin Roberts.

While the run game work was going on the defensive front continued installing the base defense on the eastern end of the practice field. The installation was broken up by conditioning and technique drills with both the defensive linemen and linebackers. Because of the vantage point for the media and fans it is really tough to see or size up the work of the defensive linemen. Of course, the best time to do that will be with the pads on. Shoulder pads go on Saturday and that should spark some inside drill work with no tackling.

The most fun activity for viewing so far in the non-contact practices has been 7-on-7. Again Friday, returning starting quarterback Donovan Woods was sharp as he opened up the first 7-on-7 with a crossing route over the middle to brother D'Juan Woods. After a terrific defensive play by safety Chase Holland to break up a pass over the middle, the quarterback Woods demonstrated his consistency with the short outside route as he found his brother again working on freshman cornerback T.J. Bell.

Challenger Bobby Reid did not complete as many of his passes as Woods did of his, but he had a sharp throw on an outside route to Chijuan Mack. Third-team quarterback Al Pena was sharp as he connected with fullback Shawn Willis and running back Julius Crosslin on routes out of the backfield.

The longest completion of the day came on a deep route down the right sideline from Donovan Woods to freshman wide receiver Jeremy Broadway. Broadway went up and over the defender to make the catch close to the sideline. D'Juan Woods knows the offense will need a major receiving threat to play opposite him. He has faith in the veteran receivers and also thinks Broadway is ahead of the game, especially in his skills.

"We have guys like Luke Frazier, Tommy Devereaux, Tevin Williams, Kenneth Williams, and those are players that have been in the system and are getting their shot," said Woods. "They are putting in the work and learning how to be productive in the offense and making great catches, so if they were to favor to my side any I know the receivers on the other side will kill them. Broadway wants to know everything and he is constantly asking me questions. All I can do is tell him little things because he has most of the big things mastered with his skills."

Some of the new defenders showed off some too. Juco cornerback Cortney Billingsley looked pretty good, while freshmen like Bell, Jacob Lacey and Andre Sexton had some solid break ups. Walk-on Sonji Ketiku had a highlight when he picked off a Reid pass in one-on-one drills. Billingsley is an example of how the young defensive backs are trying to progress as quickly as possible.

"I feel I've been doing well, coming along," said the friendly junior. "I've been learning new coverages and new schemes. Making the jump from junior college to Division-I Big 12 South is a big step, but I've got a great group of guys helping me out, coaching staff and players. It's been exciting."

Highlights in the final version of 7-on-7 included a touchdown pass on a post route from Reid to wide receiver Tevin Williams. Reid's pass hit Williams right in stride. Later Woods found tight end Justin Waller on a vertical route for the redshirt freshman tight end down the sideline.

Overall, associate head coach Joe DeForest said the practice went well.

"I thought the tempo was outstanding," said DeForest. "The one thing coach Gundy wanted was to run from drill to drill and be sharp when you break things and come back. Our practice may not be as long but they are going to be sharp and be crisp and we are going to get great conditioning in between drills."

Saturday the shoulder pads are added during a 4:45 p.m. practice, again open to the public. Before practice the squad will meet with the media and take pictures at 9 a.m. and then meet the fans in The Athletic Center from 1-3 p.m during Fan Appreciation Day.

GoPokes Top Stories