Poke Practice Notes

Oklahoma State fans have shown concern over the defections from the team and where it leaves the Cowboys in numbers, primarily the 85 total scholarship limit in football. Very few teams have a full compliment of 85 scholarship players as attrition effects nearly every program. OSU currently has, by our count, 79 scholarship players on the 105-man camp roster, which is down to 103 to be exact. The senior class, with the loss of Corey Curtis, is down to 18 scholarship players with three walk-ons.

How do you forget a helmet? It sounds crazy, but then former Cowboy tailback Thurman Thomas forgot his with the Buffalo Bills one year at the Super Bowl. Thomas, by the way, will be back in town this weekend as he will be inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Monday night. In the tradition of Thurman, Cowboy redshirt freshman tight end Brandon Pettigrew forgot his helmet in Stillwater on Tuesday. At first Matt Davis was dispatched back to Stillwater to get it, but then the hospitable folks at Ponca City High School offered Pettigrew a helmet for the day. During the entire practice Pettigrew wore a red Ponca City helmet with a blue face mask.

"When they discovered he had forgot his helmet they were just going to make him run around the track for three hours, but I thought it would be better to get him out there," joked Gundy.
,br> Fellow tight end Justin Waller, who played for the Ponca City Wildcats in high school, said the trip back home for practice this week has brought back memories as he earned numerous honors playing for the Wildcats. But he said the helmet Pettigrew wore in practice couldn't have been his.

"No, they had to throw mine away," said Waller. "Mine had too many marks on and they had to get a new one. The fact that he was wearing it was pretty funny, and I never thought I would be practicing with my college football team at my high school stadium."

The atmosphere at the Cowboys practices at Sullins Stadium has been much like an NFL training camp. Both practices thus far have drawn large crowds and the expectation is Wednesday's practice will be a good draw as well. After practice youngsters scurry around collecting autographs. Gundy, himself, took time to sign pictures, old programs and T-shirts after the Tuesday practice. The crowds have become more responsive during the practices, cheering the big plays. The players have said they have enjoyed the atmosphere, which during the later half of the Tuesday practice included the sounds of the Ponca City High School band practicing behind the stadium.
,br> "We've enjoyed the time up here," said Gundy of the commutes to Ponca City. "We got home last night and Jimmy Gonzales and Dale Patterson did a good job of expediting the process of getting the buses and getting the food and getting the team up here. There's a lot of work in moving a football team. I've enjoyed being here and we get some time to think on the bus. It's a nice dry field. It's almost like going to an NFL camp."

The good news is that defensive ends Nathan Peterson and Marque Fountain, wide receiver Chijuan Mack, and kicker Jason Ricks were back in full or in part for practice on Tuesday. The players sitting out Tuesday included starting linebacker Paul Duren (slight concussion), running back Calvin Roberts (sore knee), defensive tackle Xavier Lawson-Kennedy (stomach flu), offensive guard Caleb Noble (left shoulder), and cornerback Grant Jones (unknown).

Ricks was back kicking again on Tuesday following rehab of a quad muscle injury. It may be more than a coincidence that Ricks returned after walk-on kicker Bruce "Sunshine" Redden had a spectacular scrimmage on Monday, hitting seven-of-seven field goal tries in the scrimmage. Ricks only kicked short- and medium-range field goal tries on Tuesday. Redden was solid although he missed one short field goal try.

The punters also were back at it as they worked on punts out of the end zone. Both Matt Fodge and Cole Reynolds fared well with the averages both being close to 45 yards a kick.

"It helped that we had more time to warm up and stretch," said Reynolds, a walk-on from Edmond Memorial. "I don't think either Matt or myself were happy with Monday. We are both capable of better than that."

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