Cowboy Preseason Camp: Day 2

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy came off the practice field and declared practice number two of camp better than the first. One day and everybody, including newcomers, seem to be understanding that more is asked and more is expected when it comes to Oklahoma State football in 2006.

"Much better day today," said Gundy. "I thought yesterday was a good day but we didn't have the sense of urgency in moving around. (Today was a) much more crisper practice with players getting from one drill to another. I'm sure the heat index was in the low 100s but nobody complained and they were all working hard.

"Some of the leaders are starting to show up," Gundy continued. "Victor DeGrate, Marcus Brown made some plays today, and Jacob Lacey is turning into a leader even though he is only a sophomore. (Mike) Hamilton, (Julius) Crosslin and Bobby (Reid) are doing a good job."

The most entertaining drill of the practice came toward the end as wide receivers lined up one-on-one at the 5-yard line with defensive backs for a little goal-line passing drill. The action got physical, there was some talking, and spectacular plays ended up being made by both sides.

D'Juan Woods demonstrated that he is still "money" at the goal line as he went twice in the drill and caught touchdown passes each time on the fade. Redshirt freshman receiver Zac Ross turned newcomer walk-on defensive back Billy Lewis in a circle in catching a touchdown. Seth Newton had a nice grab for a score, and Anthony Parks had an acrobatic highlight catch for the second day in a row.

The defense had its highlights as well. T.J. Bell and Andre Sexton each chipped in with break ups, and Jacob Lacey reached down and made a sensational one-handed grab of an errant pass for an interception.

"That's a great drill," said Gundy. "Some of the best fights we've ever had took place in that drill and our guys aren't competing enough so I think in about another week of antagonizing them we'll have some good fights over there. Darrent Williams and Rashaun Woods used to fight every day in that drill, but when you have a bunch of young players they don't know what it is about yet, they're learning."

For the second day in a row sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Broadway had a good day. Broadway is catching nearly everything thrown at him and is showing expectedly more confidence than he did in playing as a true freshman. In the goal line drill he battled with a defensive back and made the catch falling on his back in the end zone. As Broadway was picking himself off the ground, Gundy yelled, "That's the way that drill is supposed to be, two players battling for the ball."

"It was pretty good," Broadway said of his catch in the drill. "Like I said good things happen when you work hard. I come out here with a good attitude every day and I look for ways to improve every day."

Prior to the goal-line drill the offense had a solid outing in 7-on-7 including quarterback Bobby Reid zipping a pass right on the money 35 yards into the end zone to D'Juan Woods for a score. Reid also hit Bowman on several completions and a perfect crossing route by tight end Justin Waller. Toward the end of the drill backup quarterback Zac Robinson threw a pass that Bowman made a nice effort in catching as he dove to the ground. One concern was starting tight end Brandon Pettigrew who seemed to have slippery hands in the warm conditions.

Much of the practice worked on execution and technique. The running game and screen passing attack got thorough exams on the field. This was the second of the required two acclimatization practices with no pads - only shorts, jerseys and helmets. The work will expand Saturday with the addition of shoulder pads.

One the defensive side the linebackers will be eager for the shoulder pads to be added. The elder statesman of the linebackers, starting middle linebacker Rodrick Johnson, says the linebackers are picking up assignments right where they left off in the spring, even though defensive coordinator Vance Bedford harps on the crew being more "see ball, get ball."

"All the linebackers are catching on really quick," said Johnson. "We even have the freshmen that just got here catching on really quick. Picking it up a little bit at a time. They need time to adjust from high school to the college level. Chris Collins, Nethon, Marcus Brown are catching on real quick. I'm impressed with them.

"I honestly believes Coach Bedford knows in the long run the guys are going to get it," added Johnson. "That's just his way of motivating us to get better as a whole group in knowing our assignments and doing our assignments and stuff. The first two days the guys are picking it up and showing they are learning their assignments. There are mistakes, but those are going to be there early."

The first team linebackers right now are highly regarded Chris Collins, Johnson in the middle, and sophomore Alex Odiari. But a number of players are in the mix including veteran and former safety Jeremy Nethon, Air Force transfer Marcus Brown, freshman Donnell Williams, freshman Justin Gent, and walk-on junior college transfer Zach Carter.

"We were doing one-on-one drills today and a guy gave me a little juke, got me upset," added Johnson. "I'm real excited about the first day in pads. That's linebacker football right there, so I can't wait to put on the pads."

The linebackers get their wish Saturday at 5:45 p.m. with some contact in shoulder pads. Before the practice the squad will go through media day at 9 a.m. and meet the fans at Fan Appreciation Day from 1-4 p.m. on the concourse at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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