Cowboy Practice Report: Aug. 6

STILLWATER - A break in the heat wave and cloudy afternoon skies made for much more pleasant conditions Wednesday as the Oklahoma State Cowboys put in their shortest practice of the camp thus far. They were on the field for just one hour and 55 minutes. The team got what they were supposed to get done as it was a very physical practice that included another inside drill and plenty of team work.

"I would say it was 10-to-12 degrees cooler on heat index and the players could feel that and moved around really well," said head coach Mike Gundy. "It was a good day for the defensive front and I thought they controlled our offensive line throughout the day.

"We did a considerable amount of goal-line and short-yardage work and our defensive front really controlled our offensive front and that was encouraging. It was a really good day. We'll get on track tomorrow again with two-a-days, but today was a really good practice."

Despite Gundy's prevailing opinion on the defensive front dominating there will still some big plays on the offensive side in both the running and the passing game.

Over the past week in practice there have been lots of examples of one of Gundy's favorite offensive concepts or offensive necessity. Gundy made a huge pitch about them from year one to year two in his head coaching career and the pitch worked. The Cowboys got in the habit on offense of delivering chunk plays.

To Gundy those are big plays, big yardage producers that either put you offense in the end zone or close the gap on a long drive by eating up a big chunk of yards, thus the term "chunk plays." Last season the Cowboys averaged 5.3 yards a rush, 8.2 yards per pass play, and 6.5 yards per offensive snap. To get those kinds of numbers you have to have chuck plays inflating the numbers. Last year's offense delivered and with so much returning in the way of play makers and in the offensive line, Gundy feels good about chunk plays this season.

"Very much so, I like our chances to get big plays of 18 yards or more," said Gundy. "The guys that we have that touch the football, everybody knows about Zac (Robinson) and Spud (Kendall Hunter), (Brandon) Pettigrew, and Dez (Bryant) but I really like our other young receivers. I like Beau Johnson as a football player and I think he will make some plays for us. I feel comfortable that we'll get enough big plays to score some points."

With his speed and experience, Gundy may not have been thinking of him, but Houston product Jeremy Broadway is capable of delivering some of those big plays. Broadway is the elder statesman of the wide receiver corps and as a result is looked at as a leader. He is a survivor as he has had some close calls with off-the-field transgressions, but you get the feeling that Gundy has always seen something in special in him. The 6-0, 195-pounder has 16 career receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown. Broadway knows he is capable and wants more.

"I feel like it, to me, I feel like it but I need to make plays," started Broadway on the leadership issue. "I feel like I have to make plays to be the kind of leader I need to be. I have the experience, but to be the complete leader then you need to be a playmaker. That is why I need to come out and make plays.

"We are three deep at wide receiver. We have three X's, we've got three Z's, we've got three A's, and it's just a matter of everybody knowing their assignments and knowing who to block and where to go. It's a good thing we have a lot of depth."

"Jeremy is doing much better and he has been on a roller-coaster ride," said Gundy in describing Broadway's stay in Stillwater. "He has started to grow up a little bit and is understanding the need to do everything right off the field and ultimately that will contribute to what he does on the field for us.

"He is a veteran guy and has a lot of game experience and Jeremy can make a play with the ball in his hands. Last year he made a lot of nice plays down the field for us blocking that keyed a lot of big runs for Zac (Robinson), Dantrell (Savage), and Spud (Kendall Hunter. It's nice to have him out there and have him getting his mind right."

Broadway is old enough that he has been around for at least the last two Woods brother, D'Juan. From D'Juan Woods, who made a living his last season on blocking, and from Adarius Bowman last season Broadway knows that downfield blocking by the wide receivers and anybody else is another ticket to popping the "chunk plays."

"That is what makes you a complete receiver," confirmed Broadway. "You catch the ball, you block, it is all a team effort. The running backs, when the quarterback is dropping back, have to step up and make a block for him to throw the ball. It's all a team effort. For a receiver that is what makes you complete. You have to block and catch it and be the whole package."

This receiver corps is not shy about blocking either as the past few days practices have included "champions drill" which is one-on-one blocking by position and the show has been every bit as impressive with the receivers and defensive backs on the collisions as the big boys on the offensive and defensive lines.

"We are all competitive and we just want to go out here and compete," said Broadawy of the champions drill and the success the receivers have had. "A lot of people think the drill is just conducive to linemen but when you get out in the open field it really makes blocking easier."

Out in the open field on a chunk play with Kendall Hunter, Beau Johnson, Dez Bryant, Zac Robinson, or Jeremy Broadway on the way to the end zone.

As for Thursday, it is back to two-a-days with an early morning practice at 8 a.m. and an afternoon start at 5 p.m. Both practices are closed, but Saturday's scrimmage in Boone Pickens Stadium at 5 p.m. is open to the public.

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