Cowboy Spring Football Notebook

Head coach Mike Gundy seemed to be itching to split the team when he approached the media last week and wondered out loud what format the fans would want. You could almost tell he relished the opportunity to split the team up and have a real football game on Saturday. Gundy looked at his options and explained why he is going with the format of splitting the roster into two equal teams.

"I decided against ones versus twos because if you really think about it you have your one offense against your two defense and on the other side you have your one defense against your two offense and they don't get a chance to score as many points as your one offense and you have a lopsided game," explained Gundy. "That is unless you have a scoring system that allows the defense to score with stops and threes and outs. You have to make the decision if you want to have a scoring system that allows the defense to score or do you want to have a real game. We're going to play a game and score it like a normal Saturday."

The fact that Gundy is willing to go this way is a testament not only to how healthy the squad has stayed during the spring, but how much confidence Gundy has in the depth on the team.

"We're going to divide them up as best we can, and obviously you have to start up front with your offensive line," said Gundy. "You have to split them up and worry about continuity. We'll do that and go from there.

"The skill players and all that, I'm comfortable with our depth there. You can split up Tommy D. (Devereaux) and Artie (Woods), split up Seth (Newton) and (Adarius) Bowman, and split up (Anthony) Parks and (Jeremy) Broadway and you're fine. You can split up (Dantrell) Savage and (Keith) Toston and the fullbacks. We have plenty of depth everywhere except the O-line is where you always struggle."

The next question is how to split the teams for Saturday. Last week he hinted that he would do it himself, but now he has decided to let the coaches on each side of the ball that know their players so well handle that chore. A nice trick on Gundy's part is he's having the offensive and defensive coaches pick the teams before he splits the coaching staff and decides which coaches will be with which team.

"I'm going to let the offensive and defensive staffs divide them up the best that we can because we want to play a good game," said Gundy, who added that the staff on each side of the ball would work on splitting the team up Tuesday. "We want to be able to go out and execute and play a good game. Try to do it as even as possible. We're not going to be real vanilla. We'll let them play."

Gundy added that they will split the specialists up for the game and they will treat all special teams live with the possible exception of kickoffs. He did say punts will be live with returns, so you can probably count on Perrish Cox and Tommy Devereaux, the two top punt returners, being on separate teams.

He also said the quarterbacks will be live to a point. He will probably be on the field with the officials and armed with a whistle to keep that to a minimum.

He also added that all 1,200 club seats on the north side that were available for $25 each (that included a game day buffet) have been sold, and he feels good that Oklahoma State fans won't disappoint him with the turnout. Gundy has done everything he can to attract the fans for Saturday including delivering the first real spring game in nearly 10 years.

Scrimmage Review
Gundy was asked to review Friday's 97-play scrimmage. The coaching staff and the players had a chance to review the video tape of the scrimmage in meetings before practice today.

"Looked good," Gundy said of how the scrimmage looked on tape. "We had guys that were running to the ball. Defensively, we gave up two big plays, and offensively, we turned the ball over too much.

"That was the first time we'd gone twos against ones and ones against twos and the twos turned it over a few times and that wasn't good. The effort was good, but we have a few guys on both sides of the ball that still don't understand how to sustain effort throughout a scrimmage, (or) throughout a game. They are players that are going to have to contribute in our first game, so it is important for them to take that step."

That last point was one that Gundy hammered home during the team meeting before Monday's practice.

"It's a good lesson for them and they have to see how they have to sustain and keep it going through a 60- or 70-play game," added Gundy.

The lesson was not lost on Gundy as Georgia played its spring game this past weekend in what they call the G-Day Game (see more details in the next note).

Georgia Spring Game
Playing hard on every down and getting out of the gate fast is imperative thanks to the schedule and the Cowboys' trip to Georgia on Sept. 1. As mentioned the subject of the season opener did come up for the first time this spring in Monday's team meeting.

"I told them in our team meeting today that we don't have a warm up game," Gundy said of the opener in September at Georgia. "We're jumping right into it, so those young guys, we don't have a chance with them to say 'OK guys, let's get going here and then hopefully you can pick it up in game four or five.' This group we're playing will be ready to go."

Georgia played its spring game on G-Day in Athens last Saturday. So how interested was the Cowboys head coach in the details. We asked if he'd paid it any attention.

"It was on TV," said Gundy. "I didn't say I watched it, but it was on TV, on Cable Sports Network or whatever that is on satellite."

We're guessing that if Gundy knew it was on that he probably tuned in or at least used his TIVO.

The Red Team defeated the Black Team 34-21. The first team defense for Georgia allowed five touchdowns in the game as the Red used two touchdown tosses by quarterback Matthew Stafford (6-12 for 155 yards) and two touchdowns by redshirt freshman tailback Knowshon Moreno (11 carries for 68 yards) to run out to a 27-0 lead. The Black answered with three scores, all on touchdown passes, before Stafford hit tight end Tripp Chandler to put the game away with a six-yard touchdown pass. In all, there were 624 yards of offense in the game.

"The defense stuggled today," said safety Kelin Johnson. "There were a lot of missed tackles, I missed a few myself, so it's also my fault. The offense just did a great job today - the offensive line, the receivers, everyone. We still know we have to keep working and keep getting better. And I know the defense will step up and get better."

Peterson Back in Practice
It was great to see defensive end Nathan Peterson back on the field again Monday. Peterson, the hero of last season's upset win over Nebraska as he closed out the win with a fumble recovery for a touchdown, has missed most of the spring with an ankle injury. He celebrated his return with a sack in the first team period of the day. After practice he admitted that he is not the best patient in the world.

"I don't like it, obviously, but I'm pretty much done and I feel better," said Peterson. "I'm pretty much released to do whatever. I got a lot of reps in today and I feel pretty good."

Peterson looked to be full speed and he is hoping that he can show the coaches what they want to see in order to let him participate in Saturday's Orange-White spring finale.

"I'm still waiting to hear. It's kind of up to them whether I get to play Saturday," added the senior defensive end. "I'm going to be pushing them to let me play because I have missed pretty much the whole spring, It felt pretty good today so we'll see how it feels on Wednesday."

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