Cowboy Football Practice Notes: Aug. 5

Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy has certainly made hardcore Cowboy fans happy. The fans always like a chance to get to see the first scrimmage of the season and Gundy has decided to make them happy. Saturday the Cowboys are scheduled to undergo a 100- to 120-play scrimmage that could end up being more if the team stays healthy throughout the session.

"I know the fans want to see it," said Gundy.

A former quarterback at Oklahoma State, Gundy has an affinity for the Oklahoma State fans and couldn't resist giving them a chance to see some live action before practice closes for good to get ready for the opener.

Saturday's scrimmage is set for 5 p.m. and is scheduled to be held inside Boone Pickens Stadium.

More Toughness Drill Today
> During Tuesday afternoon's session the Cowboys got back into the toughness mold with a little one-on-one action. The champions drill was conducted for the second day in a row, but this time it was in the middle of practice instead of at the end.

"We pushed them in the middle of practice when we had a champions drill and that was live," said Gundy. "We exert them a lot and that's what we want to find guys that can fight through."

Truth be known this is a drill that is really made for linemen and big skill players like fullbacks, linebackers and tight ends to go against each other. But during practice the crowds and collisions have been every bit as big down on the skill player's end where the wide receivers go against the defensive backs.

"We are competitive and we just want to go out and compete," said wide receiver Jeremy Broadway smiling a little knowing the wideouts and d-backs have put on a show. "The drill is pretty much for linemen, but when you do this drill and then later in a game or practice get out in the open field, it makes blocking easier."

Latest on the Backup Quarterback Race
Gundy gave the latest rundown on the backup quarterback race between sophomore Alex Cate and redshirt freshman and former pro baseball player Brandon Weeden after Tuesday's second practice.

"They are both improving, and on some days Weeden makes more plays than Cate," said Gundy. "They both bring something different to the offense, but they are both getting better. I was just thinking about that this morning that within a week we need to make that decision, just from a reps standpoint. We haven't reached the place where one has solidified the number two spot."

Special Teams Update
Through seven practice the Cowboys have drilled every special teams unit except the kickoff team. They have worked PAT/field goal and punt units the most. They have also worked punt return and kickoff return. Dan Bailey appears to be holding an edge in kicking chores over freshman Quinn Sharp, and, of course, Matt Fodge returns as the punter. There are more coaches involved in special teams for this upcoming season.

"I like what we've done," said Gundy. "Most people know that we've divided them up a little bit and we've kept the same philosophy and Joe DeForest as the special teams coordinator and he oversees everything that we do.

"We've delegated authority on some of the different teams in order to get the coaches involved and bring the players closer knowing that their position coach has a role in one of the special teams. As we continue to bring in more 200-pound guys that can run fast and have good feet then your special teams get better."

Silence is Golden
Two running backs that have already covered a lot of ground in practice are expected starter Kendall Hunter, who averaged 6.5-yards a carry last season playing in every game and carrying more than 100 times, and freshman Travis Miller. Hunter's per carry average was a best for any back in the Big 12 under those conditions.

Gundy said both Hunter, nicknamed Spud, and Miller are more free with gaining yards than spitting out words. The two are quieter backs in the mold of a Barry Sanders.

"As long as he (Hunter) does a good job of carrying the ball then I'm good with that (few words spoken)," said Gundy of his silent running back. "If you put (Travis) Miller and Spud in the same room I'm not sure that you'd have a conversation take place. They'd just look at each other. They are both good people, they just don't talk much."

Not Offense, Not Defense, But Team
You looking for a change in attitude from the past and how this Oklahoma State team is different from others in the past. You may have read about the orange bracelets that players on this team wear that read "Big 12 Champions, Dec. 6, 2008." That is different.

The other day I saw something else different as I was standing on the defensive side of the field when wide receiver Hubert Anyiam was double covered and missed a catchable pass. Normally, the defensive players on the sidelines would talk noise but instead they were encouraging Anyiam to make the catch.

"We go out there and compete against each other, the wide receivers and the defensive backs," said cornerback Terrance Anderson. "We go hard but when it all comes down to it we're a team. We want them to do good and that will make us better. He missed that pass and you gotta catch that, you gotta catch that. We blow an assignment then the receiver is going to come to us. We compete out here but we win games together. It's a team thing."

That is something different that could make a difference.

Injured and Cooper Back
Still no sign on the practice field of running back Keith Toston, who injured his knee in practice last Friday. Linebacker Tolu Moala, who is out for some time with a shoulder injury, was also not out on the field Tuesday. Two injured players that were on the practice field were freshman defensive end Jeremy Gray (out for the season with torn Achilles) and star linebacker Deron Fontenot (undisclosed ding).

Wide receiver Josh Cooper was back after spending time with a close friend and his family in the hospital Monday. Cooper's friend was seriously injured in an auto accident.

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