Cowboy Spring Football Notebook

By far there were the most visitors to any Cowboy practice so far this spring Monday as there were coaching staffs and individual coaches from Emporia State University in Kansas, West Texas A&M, Navasota High School in Texas, where offensive coordinator Larry Fedora's brother, Lee, is head coach, and another high school staff was there from Michigan.

There were also large groups of players there from Tecumseh High School and Lone Grove High School in Oklahoma. Klein, Tex. offensive lineman Clay Hebert and his father, Clyde, were at the practice as they are touring schools during spring break. Hebert is a 6-3, 285-pound offensive guard prospect.

Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy said he is not surprised by the increase in visitors this spring.

"I was joking with the staff that you get real popular when you win a bowl game, and that the only people that came last year to watch practice were our parents," joked Gundy. "Now we have four or five college staffs that have been here. They deserve the attention because the staff did a nice job and there is a lot of interest in what we are doing offensively.

"There is actually a staff here from Michigan that Coach Beckman is familiar with so they are trading ideas. It is good to see the high school players here. When you have success people want to come see you practice, that's just the way it is."

Pro Day Monday Morning
There were approximately 18 pro scouts on campus Monday morning for pro day activities for the outgoing seniors and two former players that worked out for the scouts. Offensive lineman Corey Hilliard just attended the workout as he had a successful showing at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Wide receiver D'Juan Woods hit his goal of 18 reps on the 250-pound bench press rep test and he worked out for some individual scouts. Defensive end Victor DeGrate was hampered again in his workouts, as he was at the combine, by a hamstring problem.

Of the players that did not go to the combine Grant Jones showed up well as he ran a 4.54 for the scouts, did well in drills, and hit 23 reps on the bench press test. Jones is likely to wind up in some team's camp as a special teams specialist and remember, he did lead the nation in kickoff returns last season.

Xavier Lawson-Kennedy showed up some 40 pounds lighter than he played in his final game in the Independence Bowl. XLK weighed in at 321 pounds. He had 22 reps on the bench press test, but did get light-headed and fainted at one point in the workout.

Others participating included Ryan McBean, Larry Brown, Darnell Smith, and former players Pagitte McGee and Daniel McLemore.

Rod Johnson Sees Work at Defensive End
Linebacker Rod Johnson got a taste of what life is like with your hand on the ground as he worked at defensive end throughout practice. Johnson seemed to catch on pretty quick, and with starting defensive end Nathan Peterson sidelined with an ankle injury, Johnson took most of the snaps in team work with the first-team defense.

Gundy said the feeling is Johnson could help with the depth situation at defensive end, but added that it is not a full time switch for the Cowboy senior defender.

"If we need a swing guy sometime during the year it is going to be Rod," explained Gundy. "He is not making a position change, but we are going to be thin in the defensive line and he is a guy, since he floats at about 260 (pounds), he can play some end for us in Coach Beck's (Beckman) package. We are going to work him some there and then he'll go back to standing up (linebacker)."

No New Black Shirts
After the first practice it was Martel Van Zant and then after the second practice defensive end Marquis Fountain, but they remain the only two Cowboy defenders to earn the black shirt status. The black practice jerseys go to the defenders that in the eyes of the coaching staff are doing everything right on and off the field.

Plays of the Day
Lots of choices on Monday, but we narrowed it down.

On offense, quarterback Bobby Reid dropped back during the team period and with good protection launched a rocket down the left sideline to sophomore-to-be wide receiver Artrell Woods. Woods had used his speed to get behind the secondary and caught the pass in stride for what would have been a 76-yard touchdown.

On defense, redshirt freshman Shane Jarka came through clean on the pass rush and was right in the face of quarterback Zac Robinson before he had a chance to respond. The play by Jarka was whistled as an eight-yard sack.

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