Cowboy Practice Report: Aug. 11

STILLWATER - After their first day off on Sunday from practice it was back to work on Monday afternoon for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a two-hour, 20-minute practice on the turf in Boone Pickens Stadium. The rain over the last 24 hours in Stillwater had the grass practice fields too wet for practice.

The big conversation after practice with players and coaches was the review of the scrimmage on Saturday. The 120-play scrimmage was supposed to go a long way in answering questions. Here was the general consensus, the battle for backup quarterback between Alex Cate and Brandon Weeden is still too close to call, the defense (first team) is better and they hit harder than a year ago, and it is unanimous the offense needs to play faster.

"Offense, we moved too slow, which we talked about afterwards, Both quarterbacks played well, really," said head coach Mike Gundy in discussing what he saw good and bad on the tape from Saturday.

"You had mentioned the throw Weeden had on the deep ball (58 yards to Hubert Anyiam to set up a touchdown) and he got hit as he released it, so really they both played pretty good. They made some mistakes throwing the ball in coverage a little bit, but for the most part they handled themselves really well. I think they were about 60 percent completion percentage between them. They need to be at 65 percent or better. It was better."

Co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer agreed with that assessment. The lack of penalties and turnovers was viewed as a big positive by Brewer as those are usually things that get you in trouble in a first game of the season situation.

"Like we thought on the field, actually, that it was a clean run scrimmage," said Brewer. "Sometimes the first scrimmage you expect a lot of mistakes, but as far as the operation there weren't a lot of fumbled snaps or turnovers, people jumping offsides. We were pleased as far as that goes, but we want to play faster. I was wishing that our tempo was a little quicker."

Gundy finished up by being a little more blunt, and he may have been talking a lot about offensive line play.

"Offense had a lot of missed assignments and didn't play very well," added Gundy.

Offensive line coach Joe Wickline said he's not ready to fill out a depth chart yet and there is more work to do on the offensive line. Gundy told a hilarious story about how Wickline sometimes excuses players from his meetings when their play or mental focus hasn't measured up. Wickline confirmed that sometimes there is more focus on the players that are going to play this season. He sounds like he knows who those guys are, at least the final competitors for the five spots up front.

"We've got several more scrimmage-type practices remaining and I think after we get through several more scrimmages and some live practice then we'll be closer," explained Wickline. "Guys are up and have good days and guys have bad days. I think I'm pretty certain as far as left, right, guard, and tackle. I'm convinced on where they are going to be but I'm looking to see who is going to solidify those spots."

Defensively, Gundy sounded like he enjoyed what he saw out of the first teamers and was less than enthused over the results from the second- and third-team defenses.

"The one defense played pretty well and did not have many missed tackles," continued the head coach. "The second defense and the young guys missed quite a few tackles. The one defense didn't have many missed assignments which was good."

Starting quarterback Zac Robinson and returning All-Big 12 tight end Brandon Pettigrew did not play at all in the scrimmage on Saturday, but the break was over Monday for both as Robinson confirmed the preparation for Washington State started in earnest with work against a scout team during the practice.

"We've definitely started to look more toward Washington State and you know what we think they are going to be doing and stuff like that," said the junior signal caller. "We've started getting the guys in there that we think are going to help us out in the first game. After that first scrimmage we start getting things together and running the plays that we will need for Washington State."

Scrimmage number one did enough to get the Cowboys on their way to preparing for Washington State and the date in Seattle, which is less than three weeks away. It got them on their way but there is still a lot to get accomplished and just a few decisions to make before being ready to climb on that jet for great Northwest.

Practice continues Tuesday with two dates on the field. The third two-a-days day of practice gets underway at 8 a.m. and then the second workout is at 5 p.m. Both of those practices -- as are all of the remaining Cowboys practices -- are closed to the public. The one exception is Friday when military personnel, police and fire professionals and volunteers are all invited as the team is looking to pay their respects and honor those men and women in service to their country and their communities.

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