Practice Report 15: Quality Over Quantity

OSU head coach Mike Gundy emphasized quality of quantity during a brisk two hour, 15 minute practice as the Cowboys returned to Stillwater and their grass fields Thursday night. The Cowboys started practice at 5:30 p.m. and concluded the workout at 7:45. From the start it was nonstop action with the team running from drill to drill. At one point Gundy reminded the team that the practice was short and he wanted everything they had, both physically and mentally.

Earlier in the day the team had lifting, meetings, and then an extensive walk through which covered, among other things, mistakes from Wednesday's 60-play scrimmage in Ponca City. Both coordinators seemed pleased, although not staisfied, with what they saw on video from the scrimmage.

"I was pleased to be honest with you," said offensive coordinator Larry Fedora. "It's really starting to come together. This time I saw one guy here make a mistake and then one guy there make a mistake and it was never the same guy. If it was the same guy we could just replace that player, but it's not, so we correct the mistakes. In Monday's scrimmage it was three or four guys here and three or four guys there. Like I said after the scrimmage the effort was very good. The guys played hard."

During Thursday night's practice Fedora had the offense continuing to work on the running game and executing along with lots of work on the short passing game from sideline to sideline.

When asked with the closed workouts now the rest of the way whether he was ready to pull out other facets of the offense, he said there might be some of that but it wasn't an automatic.

"Vertical passing, that's not what we're doing right now," said Fedora asked about throwing the ball down field more. "We have to have the basics down before we move on and the basics may be all we do. I'm looking for a big day Saturday and the offense showing a lot more improvement."

Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said his side of the ball is 90 percent installed and that the defense is even starting to shed some schemes and work on some other new ones. Even though the offense touched his defenders for more scores in Ponca City on Wednesday, he was still very pleased with the way the defense is taking shape.

"They played hard and they are doing what we're stressing," said Bedford. "The second play of the scrimmage we had 11 hats (helmets) around the football. That is what we want – all 11 players meeting at the football."

When asked about seeing the offense improve, he was enthusiastic. He knows all too well what it's like to have a good defense and an offense lagging behind.

"At Chicago last season we were 32nd in the NFL in offense, so even though we had the 15th best defense overall, we only won five games," explained the veteran coach. "I want our offense to be good and I know they will be. We have to worry about this defense executing."

The work load and enthusiasm was high on the offensive line field as the tackles went down for some one-on-one pass protection work with the defensive ends. The guards and centers worked on their combination blocks and double teams, an area that left a couple of defensive linemen unblocked in the scrimmage. Depth is not a worry for the offensive line, but it has changed with the defection of veteran and expected starting guard Corey Curtis. Kellen Davis is running at right guard while Caleb Noble still nurses a sore shoulder. The rest of the first team remains unchanged. The second team offensive line now has Marshal Tetsworth at left tackle, Roger Brown at left guard, Steven Denning at center, Kurt Seifried at right guard, and Brady Bond at right tackle.

How much did Curtis leaving hurt the offensive line?

"We'll find out," said offensive line coach Joe Wickline. "It won't be much if these young guys come along. We have Gourley as a third tackle, a guy that can play either side, and then Kellen can play the guard on either side and play tackle. Along with Noble they pick up everything so quick. We just need repetitions. We were much better on Wednesday."

About an hour into the practice they went into team work and totally closed the doors, with the beat writers and reporters allowed to watch the first hour.

Friday the team will have a special teams practice in the middle of the day and then come back for another 5:30 p.m. practice on Friday evening. The team will meet most of the day on Saturday and then scrimmage at 5:45 p.m. to put the final wrap on preseason camp.

All workouts are now closed to the public.

GoPokes Top Stories