Practice Report 13: Peterson, Fountain Return

PONCA CITY – It was a typical day after a scrimmage practice for a Mike Gundy team. We saw it in the spring with special emphasis on the areas of concern coming out of the scrimmage. In fact, Gundy's thoughts on the scrimmage hadn't changed much following review of the video from the 108-play scrimmage (not including special teams).

"There were players that gave really good effort that did not play with good effort in the spring. That was exciting," said Gundy taking a positive first. "We put the ball on the ground too much offensively and we were not a tough football team offensively, same things I thought yesterday."

On the other hand, offensive coordinator Larry Fedora had thoroughly reviewed the video and found himself feeling a little better than he did immediately after the scrimmage. That didn't keep Fedora from a new Cowboy tradition of the post scrimmage/game roundup. Offensive players get into a circle after practice with each player that made a bust going to the middle and apologizing for his mistake to the rest of the team and then having them join him in up-downs for each mistake. There were plenty of post practice up-downs, but Fedora saw promise that things will improve in a hurry.

"It goes back to that old deal that it's never as bad as you think it is," said Fedora. "There were a lot of good things that happened individually with individual players. The 11 of us were never all on the same page, and that was a negative. There were a lot of good things and almost every problem we saw in the scrimmage was correctible. There were just a couple of mistakes that were made, and when one guy makes it on offense you are not going to be successful. I think we'll get those things corrected by Wednesday, I hope."

The defense felt good as defensive players went to the showers after practice while the offense stayed out for their post practice exercise. Both sides had reasons to feel good during the practice on the astroplay surface at Ponca City's Sullins Stadium. Let's start on defense where the squad welcomed back defensive ends Nathan Peterson and Marque Fountain to full-time status. It was good timing with the announced loss of defensive tackle Walter Thomas due to academics. The practice was in helmet, shoulder pads and shorts but featured plenty of contact. Peterson jumped back in with the second defense in live action against the second offense and immediately made three plays in a row disrupting the offense. It reminded all of us just how much ability Peterson has and showed before the knee injury ended his freshman season in the Texas A&M game. Peterson said the practice performance was big for his confidence.

"I was trying (to make plays). It was just good to be back out there," said Peterson. "Today helped. I thought I'd be worried about it (his knee) the first couple of times, but actually I wasn't thinking about it all. When I do that I'm fine."

"We've slow played Marque and Nate just because they are mature players, Nate's still young, but he has proven to us that he will pay the price and play good on game day and we can be more lenient on his recovery," said Gundy. "There is no reason to put him out there too fast. They were out there some today and they showed they feel healthy and played good, but we may give him half the time off tomorrow. Obviously, our speed off the edge is different when Nate and Marque are in the game than when they aren't."

Fountain also showed up making plays as he had a sack in team work, tagging Donovan Woods before he could get a pass away. The defense had other highlights in the team period including a nice play by Jamar Ransom. The former safety turned linebacker still has his cover skills and he went up high to break up a potential big pass play from Woods to wide receiver Luke Frazier. Defensive end Victor DeGrate had a very good scrimmage on Monday and has had a strong performance throughout camp. The former linebacker had a sack of Woods during team work. DeGrate says he's really proud he has his coaches talking, even predicting a big season for him.

"I've probably had a sack every practice," said DeGrate. "That's going to be my goal to pass coach Bedford's goal for me. He says I can get 10 sacks, then I have to go out and get more."

With running back Calvin Roberts sitting out the practice, Mike Hamilton stepped up and started proving to the head coach that he has the toughness that Gundy is looking for in his backs. Hamilton took a Utah pass from quarterback Bobby Reid and carried it 14 yards with a nice zig-zag move. Hamilton added 14 yards on a sweep around the right side and 12 more yards on a run between the tackles. Donovan Woods flashed his running ability with a 17-yard gain on a called quarterback draw. Woods used a move early in the run to break it open and give him space.

While Woods had the better numbers and almost double the snaps in the scrimmage on Monday, Reid got much more opportunity in the Tuesday practice and made it count. In the 7-on-7 work, he connected with D'Juan Woods for a sanppy 25-yard touchdown pass. Then later during the team work Reid showed off his running ability with a 20-yard scramble. At the close of practice Reid directed a two-minute drill with the big play being a 45-yard connection to freshman wide receiver Ricky Price down to the defensive 20-yard line. It was a nice throw with plenty of velocity and a nice catch as Price positioned himself against the defender. Reid finished the two-minute drill trying to hit D'Juan Woods on a trademark fade and did, but Woods couldn't keep his feet inbounds in the end zone. The referee, head coach Mike Gundy, called the play out. But if it had been during the regular season it might have been subject to replay to see if Woods got one foot in.

Reid and Woods will get a chance to do it again Wednesday as the Cowboys announced they will return to their new home away from home (Sullins Stadium) for a third straight day. Oklahoma State will practice at noon Wednesday. Mike Gundy said that Ponca City has offered the stadium to OSU through Friday, but the hope is that the grass practice fields will be ready by Thursday and the Cowboys can quit the daily commute.

GoPokes Top Stories