Cowboys Hold Final Scrimmage Friday

STILLWATER – The final day of full contact work before next Saturday's season opener with Montana State was accomplished on Friday afternoon as the Cowboys went through their fifth scrimmage of the preseason. Head coach Mike Gundy has to feel happy that they did it with a minimum of injuries. It was one of the most successful camps ever in the injury department, and Gundy was ready to say it was pretty good all around, at least it finished on a good note on both sides of the ball.

"We had a good scrimmage today," said Gundy afterwards. "I think we went to about 75-76 plays they said, so it was good work mostly with the ones. A little bit more than I wanted to go with the ones, but just like other times when they started doing good and got moving or when there a good play by the defense I kind of let it go. Defense did really well early and then later the offense ran the ball on them, so it was pretty much a toss up."

From Gundy's analysis the running game got a thorough going over in the scrimmage, and that would make sense as it has been very competitive in the backfield with Mike Hamilton usually running first team, Calvin Roberts rising up the depth chart, and Julius Crosslin hanging in there after an impressive spring. So, will the running game be going a week from Saturday against Montana State?

"Hopefully, it's going now," said Gundy. "That really is the mystery what's going to happen in the first game with our running backs. Calvin Roberts ran really good on Wednesday and today Julius Crosslin ran really well. It's going to be interesting, but I've said from the start that we are always going to run the ball here. It may look a little different, but we have to run the ball in order to win football games. I just feel you have to do that at any level."

The always present story has been quarterback and who will start, either incumbent Donovan Woods or talented challenger Bobby Reid. Gundy sounded no closer to a resolution toward a starting quarterback other than what he's been saying all along that both would play. Both played almost equally in the final scrimmage.

"I thought they both played well today," said Gundy. "We didn't have any interceptions. I can only remember a bad throw or two. I thought they both played really well today. Bobby played really well today, and I'm trying to think back on certain series, but when you get up to 75 plays it's hard for me to remember. Bobby made some nice throws today but Donovan was steady as always."

What analysis is there left to do at quarterback?

"I guess we'll look at the tape tomorrow," said Gundy when asked about making a decision on a starter. "We may not announce it. We may just let it play. I think we'll play both of them, I really do. I don't know about Monday or any other day. I think we'll talk with our players and see how they feel about it. I think both of them will play, and we'll probably play both of them in the first quarter. We'll just have to see."

The Cowboys will taper off next week as Gundy said he hoped no practice would last more than two hours. It's a delicate balance of not working the team too long, especially in the heat, which on Friday had one of the hottest heat indexs of the summer, or making sure you get on all the work that young players especially need to be ready to play and win. Overall, the preseason has left Gundy feeling pretty good about his team.

"I feel good," said Gundy. "I'm comfortable with our physical condition. There are so many uncertainties with so many players on our team that it's really going to be interesting. I've said this for two weeks - who is going to show up at running back and what kind of performance are we going to get at that position because none of them have done it."

All the players will show up Saturday at 3:45 at The Atherton Hotel at the Student Union as the Cowboys will make "The Walk" to the stadium. They will then go through the entire game day routine including wearing game uniforms. The dress rehearsal will include pregame warm up, a 116-play scripted walk through with every possible scenario, and finish by practicing the alma mater. The walk through will be closed, but fans have the opportunity of seeing the team if they want to line Hester Street for "The Walk" at 3:45 p.m.

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