Spring Football: Reid Shines In Scrimmage

STILLWATER – The defense and quarterback candidate Bobby Reid are probably going to be the first players to show up for the Saturday morning meetings to review the video of the Cowboys' first major scrimmage of the spring held in Boone Pickens Stadium on a sun splashed Friday afternoon.

The defense had a much better afternoon than it did in the half practice and half scrimmage held a week ago on the first day the Cowboys put on pads. Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford let his group loose with a lot more schemes on this Friday and it resulted in six turnovers (five interceptions), seven sacks and numerous tackles for lost yardage.

The offense was not without its highlights and on a day where the quarterback competition was expected to have its first cut down. Bobby Reid emerged as the clear leader. Reid had his mistakes as he was sacked a couple of times and was credited with one fumble and an interception. However, all of his 10 passing attempts were caught. Reid finished 9-of-10 passing with one interception for 123 yards. His longest completion went to D'Juan Woods with Woods covering the final 18 yards on the play.

"Last week he kind of got on me because I led him into the safety and he took a hit," Reid said of a long completion a week ago to Woods. "He's claiming that I owe him dinner and I said I'll get you back, and today I gave him that 'I'm going to you look' and the line blocked and the receivers all ran the right routes and it was a good play."

Reid also found tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a 20-yard connection over the middle. He connected with Woods for a 12-yard gain on a well thrown out route, and in the goal-line drill found Pettigrew again in the back of the end zone for a one-yard touchdown pass. Reid played with a lot more confidence than he did a year ago.

"I'm comfortable now," said Reid. "Last year there was so many things in my mind at one time trying to compress it all in 24 seconds (play clock), but now that 24 seconds is seeming much longer and I am a lot more relaxed. It is all slowing down for me."

As for the other quarterbacks, Al Pena was productive in moving the offense and was the only quarterback that did not throw an interception. The elder statesman of the OSU quarterbacks completed 6 of 10 passes for 75 yards with his longest connection being a 35-yard strike to Tevin Williams, who found an open area behind the secondary. Pena also threw a strike over the middle to Anthony Parks that was incomplete, but the defender on the play was flagged for pass interference. The problems for Pena came in ball handling as he lost the ball or had bad connections with running backs on a couple of plays.

Redshirt freshman Zac Robinson finished the day 6 of 15 for 50 yards with one interception. His longest hook up came early in the scrimmage when he hit Tommy Devereaux on the outside for a 22-yard gain. He also connected with backup fullback Jeremiah Burton for a four-yard scoring play in the goal line portion of the scrimmage. His interception came on a short toss that was picked off by linebacker Chris Collins and returned 40 yards for what would have been a defensive score had the whistles from the officials not stopped the action.

True freshman Alex Cate was the hard luck story of the day as he finished 5 of 12 for 86 yards and one touchdown and three interceptions. Cate was picked off in the end zone on a good defensive play by cornerback Jacob Lacey. He came back on his next series and was intercepted on a scramble near the goal line, throwing an ill advised pass that wound up in the hands of defensive tackle Jeray Chatham. The next play they moved the ball back to the middle of the field and Cate hit Ricky Price with a strike only to have Price bobble it as he was going down and Lacey took it right off his chest and returned it 19 yards.

Head coach Mike Gundy said he'll have to review film before getting too detailed about the quarterback play, but he was impressed with the defense in the 113-play scrimmage.

"We had too many turnovers , but I have to look at the tape to see what happened," Gundy said when asked about the quarterbacks. "There are going to be some mistakes by the younger quarterbacks, but the veteran guys need to start limiting turnovers. Coach (Larry) Fedora, myself and the staff will look at the tape and see which direction we want to go. They played hard. I was excited to see the defense force some turnovers today. I thought they moved around better and played with some intensity. We were able to get through a 100-play scrimmage injury free, and we just have to keep working."

Lacey, just moved up to starting corner on Wednesday, was a defensive standout with his two interceptions, but there were plenty of others. Defensive end Victor DeGrate had five total tackles with three sacks and two forced fumbles. Defensive end Marque Fountain had six tackles and two of those went for sacks. Andre Sexton had eight tackles and was the safety that picked off Bobby Reid's only pass that didn't find its intended target. Linebackers Rodrick Johnson and Air Force transfer Marcus Brown each had six tackles.

However, the leading tackler on the day was Jeremy Nethon with 10 stops. Nethon, who was dismissed from the team late last spring by Gundy, came back to the squad in the fall as a walk-on and moved from safety to linebacker. He is bulked up to 230 pounds but retained his speed, and he was all over the field during the scrimmage even coming back after twisting an ankle to get four more tackles.

"I think I did good besides certain misalignment things," said Nethon. "Defense did much better than a week ago. We had some good picks and some good fumbles. There is no room for error being a linebacker. You are supposed to support the line. Besides that once they get to the safeties that is too many yards."

"I was glad to see him do good," said Gundy. "I stuck my neck out for him to let him back on the squad and he is sticking his neck out now playing the way he is."

The running game was modest with Mike Hamilton leading the way with 47 yards on 11 carries. Combined with a lot of sack yardage mixed in, the Cowboys averaged 2.4 yards a rushing attempt on 49 tries.

The top two receivers on the day were senior Tevin Williams with four receptions for 83 yards and sophomore speedster Jeremy Broadway with four catches for 50 yards. Broadway had a wide open drop early in the scrimmage, but showed maturity when he came back on the next play for a spectacular 17-yard diving grab.

"It happens sometimes. No explanation, you just drop it," said Broadway of the drop. "You just have to have a short memory as a receiver. I'm more mature, our team is more mature. It is about maturity to come back and make a play."

Gundy said the reps at quarterback could change next week after the review of the tape. It's a good bet that Reid will get more. The question is who, if anyone, will join him. We'll find out when practice resumes on Monday at 2:30 p.m. on the grass practice fields east of Gallagher-Iba Arena. In the meantime the Cowboy defenders will have a pleasant weekend.

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