Practice Report 9: Goal Line & Two-Minute Finish

The age old problem with preseason practice is it always leaves the coaching staff and the head coach concerned about one side of the ball and happy with the other side of the ball. For the second practice in a row it was offensive concerns and defensive joy for the Cowboys. That typically is the way things go early with the defense coming together ahead of offense. It hasn't always been the case in recent years at Oklahoma State.

The two-hour, 20-minute practice in full pads closed with a goal line scrimmage and a two-minute drill. In the goal line work the center of the defensive line did a nice job with Walter Thomas' presence noticeable. The offense tried several interior runs only to meet with a wall and mobile linebacker Rodrick Johnson who did a good job of finishing off plays. The offense did have some success on the perimeter as quarterback Bobby Reid scored on an option keeper.

There was controversy too. Quarterback Al Pena lofted a scoring pass to fullback Shawn Willis, who is having an excellent preseason. Willis caught the ball in the back of the end zone with the offense claiming he had the needed foot inbounds and the defense claiming both feet were out. Observer Dave Hunziker said it was a perfect case in which instant replay would be used if it had happened in a real game this season.

The offensive line was without senior guard Corey Curtis. David Koenig was at left guard and Caleb Noble was the right guard. Curtis has left the team after aggravating a knee injury on Tuesday. Contrary to some reports in the media, Curtis was not dismissed from the team. It might be sensible to wait 24 to 48 hours before considering Curtis gone for good. Players often quit during preseason camp only to reconsider and ask to be allowed back on the squad. It happens virtually every preseason.

The practice closed with a two-minute drill and Reid engineered a game-winning drive when he opened with a keeper that went fro close to 15 yards. The next play he drilled Tommy Devereaux with a pass for another first down. After another completion the field goal unit was rushed out on the field with seven seconds left and Bruce Redden connected with a 48-yard field goal. That was encouraging because early in practice in the extra point/field goal work Redden showed signs of being weary as he has done all the kicking in practice other than punting. Redden missed a number of kicks that he has been good on early in the week.

The overall emphasis during the practice was on the short and intermediate passing game and the running game. Offensive players that had strong practices, especially during the 7-on-7 period, included freshman wide receiver Ricky Price with several catches. Kenny Williams had a couple of catches, including one in traffic where he took the ball from the defender. D'Juan Woods and Luke Frazier both continued their consistency in catching the football and making plays.

Both Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid threw the ball well. We were told there were no interceptions during the practice, so the decisions were good too.

Early in the practice they also worked on punt returns with Daniel McLemore, Tommy Devereaux, Jeremy Broadway and Ricky Price working on fielding and returning punts.

(Editor's note: Cowboy play-by-play voice Dave Hunziker and others assisted with this report.)

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