There were still a few players with nagging injuries to go along with wide receiver Jeremy Broadway with a dislocated wrist that sat out the session. The emphasis in the practice was on two-minute offense and defense, red zone work, and even an overtime scenario.
Highlights in the practice on offense included a long pass down the right sideline from quarterback Bobby Reid to wide receiver Adarius Bowman. Unlike a similar pass earlier this week in the team period, Bowman could not stay in bounds to score. This time catching the pass carried his momentum out of bounds.
Reid looked good both passing and scrambling except for a careless fumble when he held the ball with one hand and dropped it. Reid finished the practice 9-of-14 passing including a touchdown connection on a short pass in the red zone with wide receiver Tommy Devereaux. Devereaux also caught a swing pass earlier in the practice and took it 40 yards down the left sideline. However, Devereaux, who has been mainly inconsistent in his career, also dropped a pass from Reid that hit him square in the hands.
Running backs Julius Crosslin, Dantrell Savage and Calvin Roberts had solid efforts in the running game behind an offensive line that had regulars David Koenig and Corey Hilliard at left and right tackle. Kurt Seifried was filling in at center for the banged up David Washington. The guards were Steve Denning on the left and redshirt freshman Noah Franklin on the right.
Defensively, linebacker Marcus Brown, free safety Donovan Woods, and linebackers Alex Odiari and Rodrick Johnson were in on a lot of plays. Jacob Lacey and Martel Van Zant were solid on the corners. Defensive end Darnell Smith and defensive tackle Larry Brown had sacks.
"A little two-minute today and some overtime work, situations for the team, a lot of third-and-long situations in team drills," Cowboy coach Mike Gundy said of the Friday evening practice. "We put ourselves in some tough situations and let the defense come after us. We just started working some situations and took the pants off of them to give them a little break before the scrimmage tomorrow. The guys moved around good, but we need to have a little more intensity with the defensive line. We jumped offsides a couple of times and lined up wrong, guys just not paying attention to what is going on and staying focused. We need to do a better job with that."
Now it is on to the first scrimmage of the preseason camp, and for the fans their last look at the Cowboys until they open the season in Boone Pickens Stadium on Sept. 2 against Missouri State. All practices and scrimmages after Saturday will be closed to the public and have only limited time for the media.
Back to Saturday. Gundy said they will work some situations in the approximately 75-play scrimmage, but they will also put the ball down and play it straight.
"I think it will end up being 75 plays," Gundy explained of the set up for Satruday. "The defense rolls so many guys, but most of it will be good on good, but there will some twos out there with the ones in situations depending on personnel. We'll put the ball on the 1-yard line coming out. We'll work some red zone and some goal line, and that depends on how much we get in the flow of things. We're going to put the ball down and play a bunch. Get 20 yards and mark it first-and-10 and go again. We have to get certain situations covered, so if we don't get it covered in the scrimmage then we'll put it on the 1-yard line, and if we don't get enough red zone we'll put it in the red zone later in the scrimmage. I don't think it will be a 110-play scrimmage. We just don't have enough guys to do that."
This scrimmage is more about individuals and discovering who among the incoming recruiting class and young returning players on the squad can really help. Expect to see a lot of junior college transfer Dantrell Savage and true freshman Keith Toston at running back. Young offensive linemen, wide receivers, linebackers, and defensive backs will also be in the spotlight.
"We have a pretty good feel for the veteran guys, but there may be some young players that we want to see how they react if there are a lot of people there," said Gundy. "There will be a lot of them (young players) out there playing. I know what Mike Hamilton can do. I'm looking for intensity, good clean scrimmage, looking for effort, looking for disciplined football. I want the ball stripped and on the ground, but I don't want the offense to turn it over."
A half scrimmage next Wednesday and a full scrimmage on the following Saturday will be used more for forging the identity of the team for the season and working on plays and schemes that factor for the early season games.
"That scrimmage next week will be more about what we're about and also things will be trying to do going into the season," added Gundy.
Satruday's scrimmage will see the Cowboys stretch at 6 p.m. and Gundy said the actual scrimmage should be underway by 6:15.
Cowboy Preseason Camp: Day 9
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