Cowboy Football Practice: Day 16

STILLWATER - The Cowboys were greeted by slightly cooler temperatures and an overcast sky late Friday afternoon for a two-hour workout in shoulder pads and shorts that served as a prep for Saturday's final major scrimmage of pre-season camp. Classes begin on Monday at Oklahoma State, and Sunday the Cowboys are expected to begin working on the game plan for the Sept. 1 opener at Georgia.

The closed scrimmage on Saturday will be held inside Boone Pickens Stadium at 1 p.m. and use game-like conditions with coaches in the press box and Big 12 officials. It will also continue another trend under head coach Mike Gundy of going "good on good."

"We've always gone ones-ones," Gundy said regarding the scrimmage format that will feature the first-team offense against the first-team defense and the second teams against each other. "Until we get enough depth where we don't feel there's a fall-off between the ones and twos, we'll keep going (with ones against ones). We have a lot of situational scrimmaging planned."

Friday's workout included plenty of special teams with field goal and PAT, punt, and punt return. There was also seven-on-seven, inside drill, and a team period. Parents are always welcome at practice and one parent on Friday was Roderick Price, father of Cowboy safety Ricky Price. The elder Price played defensive back at Arkansas and is excited to see Ricky move over from wide receiver to defense. Roderick was also wearing a black Nike polo in honor of Ricky's recent change in practice jersey color becoming one of the black shirts.

Price became the first safety to appear on the practice field in a black shirt, the jersey symbolizing starting status earned. The safeties have been competitive throughout fall camp and the new black shirt recipient believes the safeties are better than last season and better than in the spring.

"We feel like everybody has been working hard, and everybody is starting to learn the defense and eliminate mental errors," said Price. "It has just given everybody the chance to play balls and make plays."

Gundy, in typical fashion for a head coach, is not close to proclaiming the safety position, an intregal part of new coordinator Tim Beckman's defense, the finished product.

"We need to get better at safety," said Gundy. "(Andre) Sexton needs to play better, Q (Quinton Moore) needs to get better, and (Clint) Coe is a first-time player really. We're not polished at that position but we do have some depth with some guys rolling in there. We just don't have a lot of experience, we're about one and a half deep at that position."

Beckman has talked about how he hopes the defensive schemes will confuse the opposing offensive coordinator and the opposing quarterback. He also hopes it will give his players an advantage in matchups. So has Price noticed the defensive schemes making it easier to cover a player like wide receiver Adarius Bowman?

"Yes and no. Basically if you eliminate mental errors then everybody gets guarded by the defense," added Price.

And, of course, the defense themselves can't be confused."It really doesn't confuse us," said Price. "We're in the playbooks, and with all the time in fall camp all we do is football. No classes and no books and that's allowing us to learn this and understand the defense."

So, surely as the end of fall camp nears, Price, like many of his teammates, has to be ready for school to start, right?"No, not really, I'd like to do all football," said Price surprisingly.

After Saturday's 120 to 130-play scrimmage it doesn't matter, camp comes to a close. Classes start on Monday and preparation for Georgia starts Sunday. That is something to look forward to.

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