Cowboy Practice Report: Aug. 2

OSU defensive coordinator Tim Beckman had lamented that despite plenty of effort the Cowboy defenders had not come up with a lot of interceptions and fumble recoveries after the first two days of practice. But that changed on Saturday, the first day in shoulder pads, during two lengthy team periods as the defense found at least six take-aways and had a few more during the seven-on-seven period.

The early morning practice (8:15 a.m.), lasting two hours and 10 minutes, was the start of a long first Saturday in camp that will also include Media Day, Photo Day, and Fan Appreciation Day activities along with meals and meetings scheduled in between.

Before the end of the practice head coach Mike Gundy also had the chance to impart a lesson on his team. Gundy who loves the competition between players - and between the offense and the defense in camp - also detests extra aggression after the whistle that can cost the Cowboys penalty yardage and in turn in the ultra offensive Big 12 cost the team opportunities to win.

A couple of Cowboys engaged in some post-whistle pushing and shoving. Gundy immeidately stopped the practice, made the correction, and then had strength and conditioning coordinator Rob Glass and his staff run the squad for re-enforcement.

After the initial work including field goal and extra point and punt return work for special teams and then position drills, the players wearing shoulder pads for the first time in camp, got into some 11-on-11 team work.

The offense got a few good plays under its belt as starting quarterback Zac Robinson hit wide receiver Jeremy Broadway for a big gain. Tyler Sokolosky has really looked good in the backfield and in the screen game.

However, after a little offensive success here came the defenders. Freshman safety Johnny Thomas, out of Texas City, picked off backup quarterback Alex Cate. Thomas had a highlight-reel interception earlier this summer in the Bayou Bowl All-Star win by Texas over Louisiana high schoolers.

Junior college transfer Maurice Gray, who looked good in the spring, followed that up with a pick off Robinson. Freshman cornerback Markelle Martin, who is having a good start to camp, had an interception, and linebacker Donald Booker got in the mix with a pick over the middle.

Then proving the quarterbacks were equal opportunity for the defenders Brandon Weeden was picked off on the far sideline by safety Quinton Moore and the speedster turned it into a pretty good return.

The offense did get even some as after the interception by Thomas on a pass intended for tight end Brandon Pettigrew, Robinson got Pettigrew wide open on the outside and hit him for what would have been a touchdown.

There was also some activity in the front seven as Orie Lemon got a fumble recovery that he was able to return for good yardage. In case anyone is counting that is two big turnover plays in the practice by the middle linebackers. Veteran Patrick Lavine also had a good practice, his best so far in camp.

Later another fumble was caused when Lavine made the strip and junior college and already very popular free safety Lucien Antoine made the recovery and the return.

While the defense is coming in for compliments you can also give kudos to defensive end Ugo Chinasa as he got them from defensive line coach Glenn Spencer and Gundy.

Lessons learned and turnovers gained and still most of the day to go for the Cowboys footballers. The next practice will be Sunday at 4:45 p.m. and the first hour is open to the public.

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