Cowboy Football Practice: Day 14

STILLWATER - Two down and one to go as Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy put his team through its second major scrimmage of preseason camp. Wednesday's scrimmage was the shortest of the three planned with a script of about 60 plays, but it wound up being closer to 90 plays, with nearly a third of those involving the special teams.

The team was on the field in the 10-degree heat for two hours and 15 minutes, with an hour and a half devoted to the scrimmage.

The extra work on special teams might eliminate the need for a fourth scrimmage -- like the Cowboys did during the 2006 preseason camp that was used primarily for special teams. The Cowboys will hold a final major scrimmage on Saturday that Gundy projects could go to 150 plays.

As for Wednesday's closed event, Gundy was tight lipped about what took place and who the standout performers were on either side of the ball. He did say the scrimmage was balanced.

As an observer it was the kind of scrimmage where you left questioning which side of the ball was the winner more times than not. While a scrimmage like that leaves you thinking, that is a good thing. Good teams do that a lot. It is when one side of the ball does dominate and leaves you so impressed with the performance you forget about the concern on the other side of the ball, that a team is in trouble.

"We had a good practice today," said Gundy. "There was a lot of special team work. It was nice and hot so the guys got some conditioning. We had fewer mistakes, just a couple of procedure penalties. We had a couple of big plays on offense and a couple of big plays on defense.

"It was balanced today," continued Gundy. "I thought both sides played well. If the offense makes a big play I'd like to see the defense in position where they could have stopped it, but somebody on the offense just made a big play. Same thing on defense. That's the hardest part of watching it from a neutral standpoint. There was good balance, and we're looking more for effort, guys playing hard and chasing the ball, downfield blocking, and all the things that are important when you get into the start of the season."

There was some thought that after Wednesday the depth chart, which by the way, has varied only a little in camp, would be nailed down and work on Gerogia would begin as soon as Thursday. Gundy said hold the horses on that line of thinking.

"We have to watch the tape," added Gundy. "We'll try to make some decisions by Sunday. We'll go again on Saturday, probably about a 150-play scrimmage, and try to go with whats on tape after Saturday's scrimmage.

"We need more scrimmage work because we have so many twos that can compete for a job, and then we have so many young players that have a chance to play so we need another four or five practices to see who will play in the first game and who will start."

The best news is that while a couple of players were held out for precautionary reasons there were no serious injuries during the scrimmage, and the health of the team remains intact. That and the performance of a number of redshirt freshmen, and even freshmen players, is allowing for some solid depth to be developed.

"We're starting to get some real depth in the offensive line," said Gundy. "We have competition at wide out. We have competition at tailback. We don't have any depth on defensive line. We have depth at linebacker, and we're one-and-a-half deep in the secondary. We still need that depth in the defensive line."

Another good sign is that the players themselves weren't satisfied, although the shorter scrimmage certainly appeared to be an improvement over Saturday's 120-play scrimmage.

"We did all right but we have a ways to go," said senior offensive right guard David Koenig. "Everybody needs to come together as a unit and everybody needs to improve. I do take the performance of the offensive line very personal. I did a lot over the summer in working with all the guys and I like to take responsibility for them this year."

"I think we're coming along, picking up more each day," said tailback Keith Toston. "The (defense) is more aggressive and that is making the offense have to come on with it a little more. They are working hard and giving us pressure in each situation."

Not a lot to go on except this scrimmage was better than Saturday, with fewer penalties, fewer mistakes, and more balanced play. You can't visualize a lot out of that, but understand that balanced is good, and few injuries is even better.

Kickoff at Georgia is now 16 days away. The Cowboys will lift weights Thursday morning, hold the usual meetings to review the scrimmage, and then be back on the practice field for another practice late Thursday afternoon.

GoPokes Top Stories