Spring Practice Notes: Day 3

On the first day in pads the Cowboys did work some special teams. The on-going battle between kickers Jason Ricks and Bruce "Sunshine" Redden remains dead even. If you saw the kicks, but never looked at the kickers you would be hard pressed to tell who kicked the ball. They are both getting great distance and great take off on their field goal and extra point tries.

Each kicker was a perfect four-of-four on Friday. They each hit two extra points, two 27-yard field goals from the left hash and then two 37-yard field goals from the right hash. Ricks did nail the top of the left upright on his 37-yarder and it banged in for the successful kick.

The Cowboys also worked punts with each punter - starter Matt Fodge and backup Cole Reynolds - taking three snaps each. Fodge averaged 39.7 yards on his three punts and Reynolds averaged 36 yards a punt. Special teams coordinator Joe DeForest is really harping on improving operation time - the time to get each kick off. He is wanting deep snappers Zach Allen and Kyle Mariacher to get their snaps in the .7-to.75 seconds range and the total operation time in the neighborhood of 2.1 seconds.

First Big Hit
The first big hit - you know the one that everybody drops what they are doing and looks around to see - came in 7-on-7 work with the receivers and defensive backs. Cornerback Martel Van Zant lowered the boom and blasted Jeremy Broadway after he had made a catch on a short out route. Both players jumped up as it was just the sound of the pads popping.

Cummings Working Inside Some
One item of note from Friday's scrimmage on the defensive side is that junior defensive end Maurice Cummings, who missed much of last season with injuries, is working some at defensive tackle. The 6-4, 265-pound Cummings played some defensive tackle with the third defense in four-man front alignments. Darnell Smith still slides in some from defensive end on three-man fronts.

Only Pick Came In 7-on-7
Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford is stressing coming up with turnovers to his defense, but in the scrimmage the defense was empty on turnovers as the offense - backs, quarterbacks, and receivers - took good care of the ball. The only turnover of the day came in 7-on-7 work when strong safety Donovan Woods broke in front of a receiver to pick off freshman quarterback Alex Cate.

Signees, Walk-ons and Recruits Visit
There were a number of visitors at practice Friday and many of them will be back in the fall, while the OSU coaching staff is hoping that some of them will be back in the future. Putnam City North All-State offensive lineman Myron McKinney signed with the Cowboys in February and he was in Stillwater Friday with the North coaching staff. McKinney spent a lot of time watching the offensive line drills and said he wished he could be out there right now. He told quarterback Bobby Reid that he has been working out and Reid told him he better be.

There were also a pair of players there that have been invited and announced their intentions to walk on as freshmen at Oklahoma State next August. Bristow's Kylee Hill is a 5-11, 180-pound speedster who could play a lot of positions. He earned third-team All-State honors as a defensive back. As a senior he rushed for 1,703 yards and 33 touchdowns. On defense, Hill had five interceptions on defense. Offensive lineman Michael Grimes of Dallas Bishop Lynch High School was also in attendance. Grimes is a 6-2, 290-pound prospect who also intends to walk on.

There were at least three serious recruits on hand, including two of the standouts in the Oklahoma prep ranks. Millwood athlete Gerald Jones and Falcons wide receiver Tremaine Swindel were both there with the entire Millwood coaching staff. Jones rushed for 1,967 yards and 18 touchdowns last season as a quarterback. He also threw for 887 yards and 10 touchdowns. Swindel was his leading receiver, and both are also standouts on the Millwood state championship basketball team.

Another prospect attending was big lineman Grant Cook out of Jonesboro, Ark. The 6-4, 270-pound Cook checked out practice from the field. Jones is a prospect as both an offensive and defensive lineman.

Great Turnout for Coaches Clinic
The turnout for the Oklahoma State coach's clinic, "A Night with the Cowboy Coaching Staff," was a big success. It was difficult to tell just how many high schools were represented, but we saw coaches from Jenks, Guthrie, Seminole, Edmond Memorial, Claremore, Cache, Cordell, Star Spencer, Norman North, Sulphur, Tulsa East Central, Putnam City North and Millwood.

"There are so many clinics now that we wanted to have something that was different from any other from the standpoint that we allowed the coaches to come in on Friday afternoon and go to the meetings if they wanted to," explained Gundy. "We allowed them to come down on the field and listen to our coaches coach during drills and then stay down during the scrimmage and really be hands on. We are going to feed them dinner tonight. They pay for it and then we'll have four hours with them tonight with chalkboards in breakout sessions. We broke it down where they can get one-on-one with a coach with chalkboards all over the place. We've had a nice turnout, so I think it worked out well."

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