Cowboy Spring Football - Day 12

STILLWATER - Maybe the Oklahoma State players can consider the early finish to Friday's last major scrimmage of the spring before next Saturday's Orange-White spring game as an Easter gift from the head coach. Or maybe Mike Gundy was happy with what he saw in the 97 plays that we counted, so he decided he'd seen enough.

Either way the Cowboys were finished about 23 plays sooner than expected, and 34 plays shorter than they ran in the pouring rain a week ago.

"It was a good day. We kept it under a hundred (plays) and that was our goal," Gundy said following the one hour, 55 minutes on the field. "We got some good work, ones-versus-twos on both sides of the ball. Overall, the effort was good and the players came out and had a great attitude, had some fun today. There were some great collisions out there. (We) stayed relatively healthy. I think Noah Franklin turned his ankle and has an ankle sprain."

The biggest change was that for the first time this spring the coaching staff changed up the matchups as the first team offense and defense went against the second units. Most of spring it has been the ones versus the ones and twos versus the twos.

After the past four practices the Cowboys can't use weather as an excuse at anytime next season. A week ago Friday the team scrimmaged 131 plays during a storm that prompted a 55-minute break while lightning hovered over Boone Pickens Stadium. On Monday the team trudged through what Gundy felt was their most sluggish workout of the spring in a humid 80 degrees and sunshine, while today's scrimmage was held in wind and 38 degrees. In a week's time they seen most of what Mother Nature has to offer.

"They did very well, and I didn't say anything to them other than let's go out and play hard," Gundy said in relation to the chilly conditions. "I didn't bring the weather up. I wanted to see how they'd react. They had great body language and were excited about playing and went out and took care of business. There are a lot of little things that go into maturing as a football team and that is one of them. Things you can control you deal with and things you can't control, you can't worry about. So that is part of it and they are doing a good job of that."

"The thing is you are at home sitting around looking at the weather and you think it's going to be bad out there, but once you move around and your motor gets to burning, you realize it's not that bad, and you just play ball," Bobby Reid explained of beating the weather. "The wind was really most of the factor today out there, but really once we got out there we were just working on executing the offense."

The scrimmage started off with the offense coming off the goal line, and the first unit passed the test with flying colors as starting Reid hit improving wide receiver Artrell Woods for a nine-yard gain and a first down. The offense then overcame a 10-yard sack by freshman linebacker Justin Gent with back-to-back completions to Julius Crosslin out of the backfield and to Adarius Bowman for gains of 12 and 9 yards to get the first down. After they brought the ball back to the two-yard line Reid converted for another first down on a nine-yard scramble.

"Now that we are a little older than we were last year we take pride in something simple like that and that can be the difference in a drive," Reid said of the work coming off the goal line. "Once we get out backs out of the end zone our goal is to get two first downs and then we can get into our normal offense and do what we know how to do."

Second team quarterback Zac Robinson had one of the weirdest days you could imagine. But his experience served as an example of the difference in quarterbacking the first team offense against the second team defense, as opposed to leading the second team offense against the Cowboys' best 11 on defense.

Two of Robinson's first three passes were picked off as cornerback Martel Van Zant stepped in front of a toss downfield and returned it 12 yards to the eight. A few plays later Robinson tried to squeeze a short pass to his tight end only to have linebacker Patrick Lavine run through it and cover the nine yards for a touchdown. In all, the defense picked off five passes, all but one came with the first team defense on the field.

Ricky Price, who is really improving in his move from wide receiver to strong safety, had two interceptions and probably should have had three. Price picked off Robinson on a deep pass down the middle that was well covered and hung up in the air too long. Price split time on the first unit with former high school teammate Andre Sexton, and his second pick in the scrimmage came while playing with the second unit against the first team offense. Reid was looking downfield for a score on a first down going in at the 30 and Price made a nice jump on the ball and took it in front of wide receiver Anthony Parks.

"I'm starting to learn the defense and I am a little more comfortable as time progresses and Coach (Tim) Beckman is coaching me hard," Price said of his improvement. "I thought I played pretty good today."

Price's shoulda been an interception came late in the scrimmage when Zac Robinson, on an option pass, threw the ball into the end zone on the run and Price had position. The 6-1, 190-pound junior tipped the ball and it went right into Parks hands for the touchdown.

"I should have had that other one and it just got out of my hands," said Price. "Right after that he (Parks) was back talking noise again. Parks and I used to battle at the wide receiver position too. It's always been kind of a rivalry with me and him."

During the main body of the scrimmage Reid led the offense on a 12-play, 63-yard drive that included a 17-yard run by the Cowboy quarterback (his second longest of the day as he later had 18 yards on an option keeper) and a 20-yard completion to Parks. The defense held inside the 10 thanks to a couple of tackles for short gains by defensive tackle Quincey Patrick. Jason Ricks converted on his first of two field goals inside the scrimmage. That one was from 23 yards and the other was a 26-yard make.

Robinson led the second team offense to one touchdown drive that covered that covered 65 yards in nine plays. On the drive he completed two passes for 24 yards. Julius Crosslin carried the bulk of the load with three carries for 25 yards, but in a role unaccustomed for the Cowboys short-yardage and goal-line specialist he came out and watched fullback John Johnson bull in from the two for the touchdown, the only rushing touchdown of the scrimmage. Crosslin was by far the busiest Cowboy runner on the day as Dantrell Savage and Keith Toston carried the ball only a few times each.

"He is really going to be a solid third back for us that we can continue to use in short-yardage and goal-line situations," said Gundy. "We have given him a lot of reps this spring to help him develop himself and learn the offense, and he has done a really nice job. His drawback in his career has been handling the system so why not give him much of the work."

The longest pass completion of the day was a Zac Robinson-to-Jeremy Broadway pass down the right sideline for 46 yards that led to Ricks' second field goal of the scrimmage. Robinson then moved over to quarterback the first offense and finished off a 60-yard drive with a 14-yard pass to Parks, one of his two touchdown receptions, the other coming on that tipped pass by Price. During the red zone work late in the scrimmage Robinson also found Artrell Woods for a 20-yard touchdown.

"Zac Robinson, when he was in there with the ones, played very well," Gundy said of Robinson's interesting day. "Bobby played well but he made a bad throw across his body, and speaking of that Zac did too down on the goal line. But both those guys played well for the most part."

The fifth interception came with Alex Cate quarterbacking the second team offense as Clint Coe stepped in front of a pass over the middle and returned the ball 10 yards to the offense's 40-yard- ine. Coe started at free safety for the first team defense as Quinton Moore played with the second unit wearing a strange jersey number 68 (see the note "Blackshirts Come and Go").

On the defensive side, Price, cornerback Jacob Lacey, defensive tackle Maurice Cummings, defensive end Marque Fountain, newly promoted black shirt Derek Burton, linebacker Donovan Woods, linebacker Patrick Lavine and second team cornerback Calvin Mickens and safety Quinton Moore were in on a number of tackles. Fountain had two tackles for losses, including a seven-yard sack on Alex Cate.

The Cowboys have two practices remaining before next Saturday's Orange-White Game, and will likely do a little scrimmage work next Wednesday. All practices are open to the public.

Gundy said the staff will decide by Monday what the format will be for the spring game. Go Pokes and Triple Play Sports provided Gundy with the results of two fan polls that showed 109 fans favored the No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense going against the No. 2 offense and the No. 1 defense. There were 61 fans that favored Gundy drafting two even teams to compete in the game, and five fans favored the format from last year with the starters and top reserves going against the rest of the squad and Gundy spotting the squad team points on the scoreboard.

Below is a depth chart based on how the Cowboys lined up in Friday's scrimmage.

Offense WR: Artrell Woods, Jeremy Broadway
Slot: Adarius Bowman, Seth Newton
RT: David Koenig, Jacob Secrest
RG: Steve Denning, Michael Booker
C: David Washington, Andrew Lewis
LG: Andrew Lawrence, Noah Franklin
LT: Brady Bond, Trent Perkins (Russell Okung - Inj.)
TE: Brandon Pettigrew, Justin Waller
WR: Anthony Parks, Tommy Devereaux
QB: Bobby Reid, Zac Robinson, Alex Cate
FB: John Johnson or Jeremiah Burton
RB: Dantrell Savage, Keith Toston, Julius Crosslin

Defense DE: Marque Fountain, Shane Jarka
DT: Maurice Cummings, Jonathan Lewis
NT: Jeray Chatham , Tonga Tea
DE: Rodrick Johnson or Derek Burton
SLB: Donovan Woods, Justin Gent
MLB: Patrick Lavine, Marcus Brown
WLB: Jeremy Nethon, Alex Odiari
BC: Martel Van Zant, Calvin Mickens
SS: Ricky Price or Andre Sexton
FS: Clint Coe, Quinton Moore
FC: Jacob Lacey, Perrish Cox

K: Jason Ricks, Dan Bailey
P: Matt Fodge, Cole Reynolds
LS: Zach Allen, Mike Smith
H: Cole Reynolds, Matt Fodge

GoPokes Top Stories