Poke Practice Notes

The Cowboy sports medicine staff says it is not serious and there is nothing to panic about but defensive end Nathan Peterson, coming off an ACL surgery last fall, was held out of practice again Monday, the second day in a row. Peterson spent most of the practice working on a stationary bike before walking down to more closely watch practice. The word is Peterson's knee just has some soreness and the OSU staff is being very careful with the talented defensive end.

In other injury related news, defensive end Marque Fountain again worked in the southwest corner of the practice field rehabbing his turf toe on the big toe on his left foot. The other rehab patient is kicker Jason Ricks, who got a real workout doing situps and catching the medicine ball in working with assistant strength and conditioning coach Gary Calcagno.

He's easy to spot because he's 5-8, 175 pounds, but Zac Ross is filling bigger shoes than that as a freshman walk-on that is getting quality reps on offense. The former Muskogee High School quarterback is the son of Bacone College head coach David Ross. In high school, starting with his freshman season playing at Fort Gibson, he played everything from wide receiver to safety to running back to cornerback. As a quarterback he had 2,300 yards of total offense as a senior. He's an athlete and even though he had to walk on this is where he wanted to be.

"Since I was four or five it has always been my dream to play Division I football, and I've worked to set myself up with a chance to play here," said Ross. "I had to do it by walking on, but I was going to do whatever I had to."

"I think just by being coachable and busting everything I've got on every rep I get," said Ross. "I treat it like it's my first and my last and I catch the ball."

He is doing that as he was applauded for making a route adjustment in practice Monday that was discussed in the meeting and that some other veteran receivers missed. He also caught the two passes that were thrown his way -- a short pass over the middle from Al Pena in seven-on-seven drills and a pass in the right flat from Bobby Reid in the team period. This walk-on may get some playing time early this season.

Tuesday will be the first of just three two-a-day workouts for the Cowboys this fall. The morning practice will be in full pads and the afternoon session will be in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. Defensive end Victor DeGrate looks at it with a positive outlook.

"I have fun every day," said DeGrate. "That's my goal to come out here and have fun everyday, and tomorrow I get to have twice the fun. Twice the fun and that is the reward for tomorrow."

There is a concern over the size of the crowd for Saturday's scrimmage. The Cowboys will hold their only public scrimmage Saturday morning at 11 a.m. The practice field has a limited viewing area on the west end of the practice field and head coach Mike Gundy doesn't want to put fans in harm's way where anybody could get hurt. The sidelines of the practice field are tight and he also doesn't want any added wear and tear on the adjacent shorter fields. The solution may be taking down the tarp on the north end and allowing fans that can't fit in the viewing area to watch from there. OSU officials are urging that only fans that are really interested in watching the scrimmage attend.

The special teams session at the start of practice included work on extra points and field goals along with punt returns. On the PAT/FG work the snaps were all good from Brian Jeffries and Zach Allen, who traded off at the position. The kicks were a mix as Bruce Redden, with Luke Roberts holding, hit 4-of-8, but nailed a long kick on the last field goal try from 47 yards out.

On the punt returns there was no tackling, but the blocking wall was set well on virtually every return allowing returners Daniel McLemore, Ricky Price, Tommy Devereaux and Zac Ross the chance to do plenty of running. McLemore looks to be the most polished of the punt return candidates.

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