Scrimmage: Reid, Young Runners Impressive

STILLWATER - Several fans were overheard bragging on quarterback Bobby Reid and the entire crowd of approximately 2,500 on the OSU grass practice fields for the Cowboys first preseason scrimmage cheered with every big completion and scramble. Reid's progress and development, more than any other phase of the team, has been linked to the fortunes of the Cowboys upcoming season.

The largest crowd ever to watch a practice or a scrimmage on the practice field saw Reid go 11 of 18 passing for 175 yards and three touchdowns, including a 40-yard scoring connection with sophomore Ricky Price and a 43-yard pass and run to junior speedster Tommy Devereaux. Reid also ran the ball six times for 14 yards and a three-yard touchdown in the goal line phase of the scrimmage. It was a good show that saw highlights on both sides of the ball.

"I thought we had a good scrimmage today," said Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy. "We stayed pretty healthy. David Koenig (starting left tackle) scared me there for a second but he's fine. It's always good to have a 110-play scrimmage and stay healthy. There are some young guys that showed up and made plays. We are going to have to have some young guys compete for us this year. There were some veteran guys that showed up and played better football than they played in the spring.

"Obviously, there were a lot of mistakes out there, but they are things we can correct and get back out there next week and let the fellows see what they did and get better. We have another full week of training camp before we start to settle back a little bit when school starts (Aug. 21)."

The phase that should be stressed most by fans is turnovers and that was a positive as well. In the 100-play scrimmage, not counting extra field goal tries and kickoff and punt return work, there were 62 snaps with all or part of the first offense on the field. With the first-team offense on the field there were no interceptions and two fumbles and only one recovered by the defense. The first team offense had none of the six illegal proceedure penalties. Those all came against the second and third offensive units. It was a fairly clean effort.

"It seemed like he (Reid) played pretty good," said Gundy. "Did we have turnover on the ones (first-team offense)? I don't think we did, did we? Bobby plays pretty good within our system. I thought he played well. The most important thing is that we held onto the football for the most part and when you do that you are going to give yourself a chance to win the game. I think we hit a couple of big passes, two or three, and we ran the ball effectively."

"I felt I did pretty well," said Reid. "I made a couple mistakes, but all I worry about is my team getting better at the end of the day."

The defense had its highlights too, but afterwards there was some frustration over the big plays allowed. There were also some compliments for Reid and Julius Crosslin, Calvin Roberts and the two young running backs, Dantrell Savage and freshman Keith Toston, who combined to rush for a total of 181 yards on 42 carries.

"I thought the defense played kind of flat," said linebackers coach Todd Bradford. "We were missing Chris Collins and he makes a difference. His injury is not serious. The offense deserves credit because they did play well."

The scrimmage started out just as Gundy had discussed on Friday with the offense starting on the 1-yard line. On the first play Reid rolled to his right and hit D'Juan Woods for a 20-yard gain. Woods would only catch two passes for 27 yards and Adarius Bowman was held out with a nagging two-a-day injury, but other receivers stepped up later in the scrimmage. That drive stalled after the initial big play.

The offense ripped off two first downs and drove across the 50-yard line on its next possession, thanks to a 40-yard connection from Reid to Ricky Price. Price was wide open between defenders on the play. The drive stalled after linebacker Rodrick Johnson stopped Calvin Roberts for a one-yard gain and on third down Reid hit Devereaux in the flat and cornerback Martel Van Zant unloaded on him for a four-yard loss.

The starting cornerbacks played well except for a couple of pass plays. Jacob Lacey and Van Zant were aggressive and usually sure tacklers combining for eight tackles, four each. Andre Sexton also played well in the secondary with four tackles, almost all of the knifing variety. Linebacker Rodrick Johnson led all tacklers with nine stops, and Marcus Brown finished with four tackles.

"I think we worked hard and we played hard but we have to get control of these little mistakes that we're making here and there," said Brown, who played both middle and weakside linebacker. "Those little mistakes are leading to big plays. Coach Bedford (defensive coordinator) hates big plays and if we can stop those little mistakes then we'll cut down those big plays."

Defensive end Victor DeGrate had the only sack of Bobby Reid on the night. But sacks were a plenty on the backups as the second and third team offensive lines were made up of almost exclusively young players and some some inexperienced veterans. Muskogee freshman Derek Burton, the son of former OSU offensive guard Derek Burton Sr., was in on three sacks, two on redshirt freshman Zac Robinson and one on true freshman Alex Cate. Linebackerers Seb Clements and freshman Justin Gent were also very active on the second team defense.

"I think there is a chance that he (Burton) will play," Gundy said of the freshman defensive end. "It just depends on our health at that position. We are very deep at that position right now."

The first touchdown for the offense came on its second rotation. After two first downs, Reid hit Price between defenders and Price made a nice move to finish the play.

"With A.D. (Bowman) not playing today it is time for the little guys to step up and you know one of the older guys might go down and they will need to step up and today Ricky and Tommy D. did," Reid said.

"That is huge," said Fedora. "We have to have those guys. You know going through a season you are never going to make it through with your starters. It doesn't happen now a days. We know those guys are going to have to make plays for us."

Before the midway mark in the scrimmage the first offense added a field goal on a drive that featured solid runs by Savage, Crosslin and Toston, as well as a Reid-to-Savage screen that covered 11 yards. Bruce Redden came on and nailed a 49-yard field goal.

"Savage gives you more elusiveness in your scheme," explained Gundy. "Obviously, we know what Michael (Hamilton) and Julius (Crosslin) can do, and then when he comes in there he is going to make more people miss and that is what we were looking for when we brought him in here. He played better today than some of the other younger players because he is a junior college player and this is not as new for him as some of the others.

"Keith (Toston) has done a nice job and Calvin Roberts has done a nice job for us other than putting the ball on the ground. He has run better than he has the last couple of years. Toston has done a nice job for us. Michael will be back out there Monday, so you are going to have to cut your reps and you can't work four guys, so I'm not sure exactly what we'll do with him at this point."

Fedora said, "We were heavier run today than normal, but it was something we were trying to work on. I wanted to see what those running backs would do. You saw some things from Dantrell Savage, (and) Keith Toston in his first college scrimmage. They all did some good things and A.D. was out and we all know we have D'Juan Woods, so we wanted to do some things with those backs and I thought they responded well."

Following a break that saw both Savage and speedy freshman cornerback Perrish Cox entertain the crowd with long kickoff returns, the offense started on the plus 43-yard line and on the first play Reid hit the speedy Tommy Devereaux down the right sideline for a 43-yard touchdown.

"Tommy Devereaux has been hit and miss throughout his career but one thing he can do is run fast," said Gundy. "If he gets behind somebody and you get it out there chances are he is going to go get it. It was nice to see him make a play."

Four plays later the offense went on the board again as Crosslin, acting like a human bowling ball, bounced off would be tacklers making solid hits and then found the clear the final 15 yards for a 33-yard touchdown run.

Other scoring plays in the second half of the scrimmage included a Bruce Redden 29-yard field goal, the second team offense scored its only touchdown when Zac Robinson hit Seth Newton on a 23-yard touchdown pass. It was a nice throw and great effort to go up and get the ball by Newton. Then with Zac Robinson quarterbacking the first team a six-play possession resulted in a Jason Ricks 30-yard field goal. Prior to the Ricks field goal Robinson scrambled and forced a throw into a loaded secondary and free safety Donovan Woods had the only interception of the scrimmage which he returned more than 30 yards to near midfield.

The rest of the scrimmage included goal line situations with the first offense scoring on both its tries -- once on a Crossline three-yard run and the other on a fake and a Reid sprint to the pylon. During the goal line drill the defense came through with a turnover as Donovan Woods charged in hard and forced Toston to fumble the football and freshman defensive end Shane Jarka came up with the recovery. On a red zone drive, Reid finished the plays from scrimmage with a four-yard scoring toss to tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who had three receptions for 16 yards on the day.

The kickers finsihed the scrimmage by trying long field goals. Both Redden and Ricks hit from 42 yards out with the team surrounding them and trying to distract the operation of snapper Zach Allen, holder Cole Reynolds and the kickers. Redden hit from 51 yards while Ricks was wide, and then Ricks hit from 60 yards with Redden just wide.

"That was good and that was a lot of fun for Sunshine (Redden) and Ricks to back it up," said Gundy. "Those guys work hard and we wanted to give them the stage a little bit. It was nice to see."

It was a solid first scrimmage, but Gundy says there is a lot of work left. The Cowboys will take their first day off since reporting with Camp Cowboy activities on Sunday. They get back to the practice field on Monday. All practices are now closed as they continue preparing for the Sept. 2 opener at Boone Pickens Stadium with Missouri State.

Scrimmage Stats
Offense: 17 first downs. Total Yards: 422 Passing: 29 attempts, 16 completions, 1 interception, 226 yards.
Rushing: 49 attempts, 196 yards.

Defense: 2 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovered, 1 interception, 5 sacks

Player - Att. - Yards - TD - Long - Average per carry
Crosslin - 8 - 50- 2 - 33 - 6.25
Roberts - 10 - 46 - 0 - 15 - 4.6
Savage - 10 - 44 - 0 - 11 - 4.4
Toston - 14 - 41 - 0 - 9 - 2.95
Martin - 7 - 20 - 0 - 12 - 2.95
Reid - 6 - 14 - 1 - 7 - 2.33
Robinson - 7 - (-12) - 0 - 9 - (-1.7)
Cate - 1 - (-7) - 0 - (-7) - (-7.0)

Player - Att.-Comp.-Int. - Yards - TD - Long
Reid - 18-11-0 - 175 - 3 - 43Z
Robinson - 8-4-1 - 44 - 1 - 23
Cate - 3-1-0 - 7 - 0 - 7

Player - Rec. - Yards - TD - Long
Price - 2 - 80 - 1 - 40
Devereaux - 2 - 39 - 1 - 43
Newton - 2 - 25 - 1 - 23
Woods - 2 - 27 - 0 - 20
Pettigrew - 3 - 16 - 1 - 8
Savage - 1- 11 - 0 - 11
Toston - 1 - 8 - 0 - 8
Nelson - 1 - 7 - 0 - 7

Scoring Plays
Bobby Reid to Ricky Price 40-yard pass (two-point conversion failed)
Bruce Redden 49-yard field goal
Bobby Reid to Tommy Devereaux 43-yard pass (PAT good)
Julius Crosslin 33-yard run (two-point conversion failed)
Bruce Redden 29-yard field goal
Zac Robinson to Seth Newton 23-yard pass (PAT good)
Jason Ricks 30-yard field goal
Goal line scrimmage
Julius Crosslin 3-yard run
Bobby Reid 3-yard run
Red Zone Scrimmage
Bobby Reid to Brandon Pettigrew 4-yard pass (PAT good)

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