Cowboy Football Practice: Day 10

STILLWATER - The OSU Cowboys went through their first of three scheduled major scrimmages in the preseason Saturday, and as any head coach would want to see there was give and take between the offense and the defense. Of course, with each side of the ball having highlights, that also means there were areas that each side will be looking to improve upon as camp continues after an off day Sunday.

Overall, head coach Mike Gundy said the 120-play scrimmage in 100-plus temperatures was a little better than you expect for a first scrimmage.

"Too many mistakes on offense and defense did a good job of not giving up too many big plays. They only gave up two big plays," said the Cowboys head coach. "We have to run to the ball better on defense. This offense can put you to sleep, that's what they do. In the first 25 or 30 plays the defense got into a lull and then they got used to it and played better.

"It was a pretty good scrimmage for the first scrimmage, not a lot of mental errors. We had some procedure penalties by the twos, but they are freshman. For the most part it was pretty good. I thought our effort was pretty good."

The first touchdown of the scrimmage came not from the offense, but the defense as senior linebacker Donovan Woods timed out his approach on a Bobby Reid screen pass perfect, picked it off and outran the pursuing offensive players for the touchdown.

"I just came in and tried to stay outside and didn't get cut," said Woods of his approach toward the play. "I kept my hands up and was able to get it (the ball). The rest in history."

The offense had its success as freshman wide receiver Dez Bryant caught a touchdown pass, as did freshman tight end Wilson Youman. Reid also ran for a score. The team also worked through all the different special teams units. The bonus was being able to do it with a full, mostly Big 12, officiating crew. Gundy talked about some of the different situations that were scripted into the nearly two-hour scrimmage.

"We came off the goal-line a little bit, worked some red zone, and just a little bit of two-minute (drill)," said Gundy.

On this Saturday Oklahoma State didn't have to beat Sept. 1 opening-game opponent and 13th-ranked Georgia, but they did have to make strides toward being ready to do just that. Here are a variety of comments from players and coaches on the progress made, and the progress that still has to be made.

"Probably a little further along," said Gundy of the quality of play in the first scrimmage. "You usually have a lot of mistakes, a lot of things that look bad. We didn't have many things that looked bad. Other than that it wasn't that bad. I think we have higher expectations for our team now and we're three weeks out. We are still experimenting with guys at positions. Dez (Bryant) made a couple of catches, but we still have to help get him lined up and things. We're getting there. We still have a lot of work."

"Coach (Tim) Beckman brings a lot of intensity and guys are really competing out there," said safety and recent blackshirt recipient Donovan Woods. "We were a little lackadaisical at times out there, but it is tough on defense when we play with so much energy; we need our fans in there. We'll have that on Saturdays, but we have to be self-starters and continue to make plays."

"I felt we did OK," said backup quarterback Zac Robinson, who had a good day both running and passing. "We tried to eliminate the turnovers, and overall, I think our effort was OK. We need more big plays. The defense is at a different level than they were a year ago. I know they aren't where they want to be but they are better. They are making it tough on us."

"Like Zac said we are not where we want to be. We definitely have a lot higher expectations than what we had a year ago," said safety Clint Coe. "We are trying to practice and do things with a lot more intensity and compete a little bit harder with more of a cut-throat attitude than we had last year."

"We still have to get to the football better than what we did today," said defensive coordinator Tim Beckman.

Along those lines, after the scrimmage, when he was talking with the media, Gundy made a pitch for an idea that many coaches and some of us in the media have pitched for both spring and fall practice. A scheduled scrimmage against another school that is not on your schedule, kind of like what they do in NFL training camps.

"At some point you'd like to have a scrimmage like they do in the NFL (against another team) because these guys (OSU offense) they can give you a false sense of where you're at," said Gundy. "I've talked about that (scrimmaging an outside opponent). Have someone come in here, charge five dollars. You go have a 100-play scrimmage, 50 on both sides of the ball. I'd love to do that, just do 50 plays, get your ones 30 (plays) and your twos 20 (plays), do some kicking game and maybe some seven-on-seven."

The Cowboy players will now get their first day off this fall on Sunday with only brunch, Camp Cowboy, and evening meetings on the schedule.

"I'm looking forward to some good sleep," said Woods. "I need some good sleep."

Then in the evening, Woods, who is one of the better players at singing the alma mater and fight song, will no doubt be a leader in teaching those two songs at Camp Cowboy.

"It's teaching the players the fight song, school tradition, the history of Pistol Pete," said Gundy of the Camp Cowboy dinner Sunday night with the players, staff, and their families. "We've done it every year for a long time. It's to teach the players the history of the school, the program, Pistol Pete, and all that stuff."

The next practice for the Cowboys will be at 4:45 p.m. Monday. All practices throughout the rest of camp and the regular season are closed to the public.

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