Poke Practice Notes

Former Cowboy great Thurman Thomas is coming to town this weekend and will stay over to Monday for his induction into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Steve Buzzard, associate athletic director for media relations, will introduce Thomas for the honor on Monday at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Gundy said he will have Thomas talk to the team, and in particular to the latest class of Cowboy running backs. The topic will be toughness.

"There's a guy that was as tough as anybody to play the game at that position," said Gundy of his former teammate. "When you're dealing with (Julius) Crosslin, who is a sophomore and really hadn't played in a game; Michael Hamilton is a redshirt freshman, and guys don't understand what it takes. You have to put them in the fire and let them get banged up."

The Cowboy backs said they are well aware of the tradition of tough backs at OSU that includes Thomas, a two-time All American and the school's all-time leading rusher.

"I learned a lot from Tatum (Bell) and Vernand (Morency), but Thurman Thomas is a different running back," said Roberts, who grew up in the same region of Texas as the former Cowboy great. "He's (Thomas) a tough cat and coach Gundy speaks it all the time that we have to get tougher. Everybody will get their shot and we'll support each other and be behind each other."

"I'm always thinking about those guys (past great backs) because I want to fit in like they did," said Hamilton. "I'm just trying to do my best to get to that point right now."

The first sign that preseason camp is winding down took place following practice on Wednesday. The Cowboy veteran players that will not stay in Bennett Hall during the school year moved out of the dorm and made way for incoming students. Most of the upperclassmen live off campus in either apartments or rent houses. Freshmen and sophomores are still required to live in the dorm.

Several Cowboys were held out of the scrimmage action on Wednesday for precautionary reasons. Gundy had hinted that after seeing the play of defensive end Nate Peterson that Peterson would get a light day on Wednesday and he did. Wide receiver Chijuan Mack, who was just released for contact on Tuesday, was held out along with linebacker Paul Duren (slight concussion), guard Caleb Noble (sore shoulder), freshman guard Noah Franklin, and wide receiver Tevin Williams.

It's a good thing the Cowboys have their "Sunshine" because returning kicker Jason Ricks may have suffered a serious setback in coming back from his quad injury. In the early practice PAT/FG kicking drill Ricks hit an extra point and then limped off after attempting a 34-yard field goal. "Sunshine" is the nickname of walk-on kicker Bruce Redden, who has been a big surprise during camp. Redden nailed kicks from 36, 38, 42, and 48 yards before just missing a 57-yard attempt.

The punters, scholarship freshman Matt Fodge and walk-on freshman Cole Reynolds, again worked on punting out of the end zone. The success was not as good as it was on Tuesday as Reynolds averaged 36 yards on three kicks and Fodge averaged 34 yards on three kicks. A couple of the snaps were high by freshman deep snapper Zach Allen with one leading to a blocked kick.

It was unfortunate that the weather led to the final three open practices being held in Ponca City, but the open practices during camp finished with the Wednesday practice. Gundy was more open during the spring and during preseason camp than any Oklahoma State coach since Pat Jones. The Cowboys will begin working on plans for the first three games and most precisely the opener with Montana State. Just in case you are wondering, practices at Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State have all been closed or were closed earlier than Oklahoma State. Oklahoma and Iowa State will both close practices after this weekend.

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