Cowboy Spring Football - Day One

At 3:15 p.m. Monday, 89 players started their stretching under the direction of strength and conditioning coordinator Rob Glass. Bright, clean practice jerseys and sparkling clean white helmets marked the start of Oklahoma State's spring football for 2007. The squad was in shorts, jerseys and helmets so there was no contact as directed by NCAA policy on the first day of spring practice.

What was evident was the enthusiasm. This was a team eager to get back to business as they went through a two-hour, 50-minute practice.

"Very excited, again a good practice and the attitude with our team right now is very good as you could imagine from the finish from last season," said head coach Mike Gundy after the conclusion of the practice. "I told the team it is an interesting spring because we have quite a few veteran players, either seniors or younger players that have quite a bit of experience, and then there is quite a bit of a drop off to younger players that don't have any experience and have to step up and get going early like the DeMarcus Conners, the Artie Woods, and defensively, Jeray Chathams,and Chris Collins really falls in that category because he didn't get to play much last year. It's interesting from that standpoint."

Despite the absence of contact there were still areas that could get a lot of work and Gundy pointed out some of them, including two primary aspects that will be stressed throughout the 15 practices of the spring.

"Last year one of our goals was to take care of the football because we were terrible two years ago," started Gundy. "I think this spring one of the goals is to catch the football better. We had too many drops last season -- backs, tight ends and receivers -- so we are trying to do a better job of catching the football."

Quarterback Bobby Reed echoed Gundy in particular with the wide receivers. Adarius Bowman is still with the OSU basketball team that lost to Nebraska in Lincoln on Monday night 85-73. The current depth chart shows Anthony Parks, Tommy Devereaux and Seth Newton at the top with younger receivers like DeMarcus Conner, Artrell Woods, and even a new walk-on like Florida native Eddie Cameron being looked at carefully.

"Together as a whole those guys can be unstoppable,"Reid said of the receiver corps. "I believed in those guys since day one, and when A.D. (Bowman) gets back his leadership and experience will carry those guys to the top and he won't have to worry about it much in a game."

Reid added that while the current receivers may not be as multi-talented as the graduated D'Juan Woods, together they can combine to do everything needed.

"Losing a guy like D'Juan, who can do anything you need him to, now we kind of have three or four guys that can do different things," said Reid.

The major focus on defense with new coordinator Tim Beckman is simple. It started as soon as the squad broke up into individual periods as the defense went through station drills that emphasized tackling and pursuit.

"Defensively, we are trying to be in a better position, chase the football, and tackle better," said Gundy. "If we do that it will give us a much better chance."

In shorts, with contact limited, there was one area easily evaluated, and that was effort. Gundy said that is not a problem with this team, and he doesn't expect it to be through spring, the summer, and into preparation for next season.

"You're in shorts and you can't put any pads on so it's like flag football to a certain extent," explained Gundy. "A lot more individual, an hour of individual time and the opportunity to throw seven on, 50 reps of seven-on-seven. We keep them split up, but as I said they are excited about football. The thing about our team now is we have about 80 guys out there and they are all going to go hard. If they don't, they don't have anybody to side with. The attitude is so good that if they don't, the other players are going to get on them so it kind of takes care of itself."

Reid, one example of that leadership, said it felt like only a short period since the Cowboys beat Alabama in the Independence Bowl, and returning to the practice field was fun.

"I did all right," said Reid. "Coach Beckman, his defense is kind of crazy and threw a couple of things at me. I just played football and had fun."

The fun continues Wednesday with shoulder pads expected to be added. Throughout the spring practices are scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The team will take the week off for spring break from March 17 through March 25. The spring game is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, at 5:30 p.m. All practices are open to the public.

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