Cowboy Football Practice: Day 1 Notes

With an opening game with Georgia, OSU head coach Mike Gundy's favorite description all summer is that his team doesn't have a warm-up game. Gundy reinterated that idea after his team's first practice Thursday and noted that as a result competition for open positions won't last long. The starting units will be defined a little earlier than usual in pre-season camp.

"We probably will do it five or six days earlier than we normally would," Gundy said of setting a starting lineup. "You're looking at 12 days out (of the first game) versus a week out when you really say these guys are our starters."

Leadership Comes Easier
A less than desired intensity on offense for the first day of practice will no doubt be discussed with quarterback Bobby Reid. Gundy felt the offense lacked the fire he wants to see. It was Reid that led the offense all summer. He said he agreed with the head coach on the first practice and he also said he is more comfortable than ever in speaking up with his teammates as a leader.

"I feel like it is my time," said Reid of the leadership responsibility. "Last year we had some older guys do it and some times when I saw some things I didn't think were going right I kind of barked, but now I'm going to bark all day and all night long. I want this thing to go right and I know what it takes. We've had a little taste of it and we're hungry, so I am going to reinterate what the coaches are doing."

Special Teams Update
On the first day of practice the special teams worked PAT and field goals with incumbent kicker Jason Ricks hitting all six of his kicks while working with snapper Zach Allen and holder Cole Reynolds.

Ricks hit all three PATs and then drove home field goals of 29, 35, and 42 yards. Backup kicker Dan Bailey was three of five with two made PATs, one missed, and a 29-yard field goal and a miss from 35 yards. Bailey worked with freshman snapper Marc Yerry and holder Matt Fodge. The other special teams work was on punts with the unit being split up early and coming back later for full squad work with a first and second unit. Matt Fodge is an All-Big 12 candidate at punter and is backed up by Cole Reynolds.

"I'm real comfortable with our PAT/field goal unit and then punt is so important," said Gundy of the work on the first day. "We are always going to start with punt because you have to get your protection and your timing, hang time, and we knew we wanted to start with that. There will be more kickoff work and we actually have more special teams work planned than we've had in the past."

With the extra time devoted to special teams, a lot of that will be spent on kickoff and kickoff returns with the new rule moving kickoffs back to the 30-yard line.

Good To Be Back
Defensive end Nathan Peterson is being picked by some sources as an All-Big 12 defender for this season. The senior from Tulsa Union has made many big plays in his career and was the hero with his fumble recovery returned for a touchdown in the win over Nebraska. However, Peterson missed most of the spring and has struggled some with injuries in his career, including a season-ending knee injury in 2004. He was glad to be back on the field for day one of practice.

"It went real well and felt really good to be back out there and not over on the sideline with Coach (Rob) Glass," said Peterson of time spent with the strength and conditioning coach. "Hopefully, I've had my last time over there."

Nice Haircuts
Peterson, like many players on the Cowboys, was featuring a short haircut for the start of practice. Offensive lineman Noah Franklin and punter Cole Reynolds both cut their long hair. Offensive lineman Trent Perkins shaved his head and yet another member of the offensive line, Michael Booker, had a Mohawk.

"So far the only interesting haircut I've seen is Booker's," said Peterson. "We've had some guys talking about it, so I wouldn't be surprised if some more crazy haircuts popped up before the end of camp."

Recruited Walk-ons
Here is a complete list of the new freshmen players that are recruited walk-ons:
7, Zac Dickey, QB, 6-1, 190, Pittsburg (St. Mary's-Colgan), Kan.
9, Danje Martin, DB, 5-10, 180, Oklahoma City (Douglass), Okla.
16, Cedric Gadson, WR, 5-10, 175, Yukon, Okla.
30, Rodrick Watson, Ath., 5-8, 170, Crowley, Texas
37, Bryant Ward, FB, 5-11, 215, Stillwater, Okla.
64, Kurt Baldwin, DE, 6-2, 220, Oklahoma City (McGuinnness), Okla.
73, Casey Bogle, OL, 6-4, 290, Wichita Falls (Rider), Texas
89, Grayson Buster, K, 6-0, 180, Crawford, Texas
99, David Sweet, K, 6-2, 185, Spring Branch (Smithson Valley), Texas

Fan Appreciation Day
Fan Appreciation Day is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m in the cool climate of Gallagher-Iba Arena. The players and coaching staff -- minus head coach Mike Gundy who will be attending the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony of former Cowboy teammate Thurman Thomas in Canton, Ohio -- will sign autographs and pose for pictures from 1 p.,m. to 3:30 p.m. Here's where to find your favorite players and coaches:
Northeast corner of GIA: DT, DE, QB, coaches Larry Fedora and Nelson Barnes
Southeast corner of GIA: FB, Safeties, WR, coaches Tim Beckman and Gunter Brewer
Southwest corner of GIA: K, P, DS, CB, LB, coaches Joe DeForest and Todd Bradford
Northwest corner of GIA: OL, RB, TE, coaches Joe Wickline, Curtis Luper, Doug Meacham

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