Cowboy Practice Report: Aug. 16

STILLWATER - They way head coach Mike Gundy and the other members of his coaching staff and some of the Oklahoma State players made it sound Saturday's closed major scrimmage really resembled last Saturday's open scrimmage. It seemed to go about as long although that was hard to estimate because there was a 53-minute rain delay during last week's activity.

Gundy estimated the Cowboys ran around 120 plays; there were right at 116 plays last Saturday. There was plenty of special teams work as there was last week. The results were give and take between the offense and the defense, as it was last week.

There was one big difference. Starting quarterback Zac Robinson and returning All-Big 12 tight end didn't sit on the sidelines Saturday; they participated.

"It was definitely good to be back out there," said Robinson. "Back in the flow and getting the tempo going and I thought the offense was moving the ball well today."

"Pettigrew and Zac did a nice job," said Gundy. "We left them in to get some work. Those guys need to get good quality work, and as much as you don't want them out there they need to get the reps because they still have to get ready to play a game."

As for the scrimmage, some of the defensive players said it started with a few turnovers that got the defense cranked up and the enthusiasm remained consistent on the defensive side throughout. But the offense had their moments too, according to both coaches and players.

"We had a good practice today; we had a good scrimmage," said Gundy. "It was 120 or so (plays). It went well. We had a lot of excitement from both sides. I think the guys are in good condition, as I said earlier. We're still two weeks out and we're going to need every practice in order to get ready to play, but we're much better now than we were a week ago."

Robinson also feels the team is where they need to be, at least the offense at this stage.

"I think so, we definitely have a lot of work ahead the next two weeks," said Robinson in affirmation. "We are going to keep going over the stuff that we have Washington State and all the plans we've got going. I'm comfortable where we are at and I feel we could go play a game tomorrow, but I'm glad we've got these two weeks left."

"We still need every practice to get ready to play," added Gundy.

There is still no decision on the backup quarterback position as Brandon Weeden and Alex Cate both continue to battle for that spot on the depth chart. Gundy said he hopes it is made by the end of the upcoming week.

Defensive coordinator Tim Beckman is also feeling better, not great but better, about his defenders as they prepare to completely change minds in college football as to how the Oklahoma State defense is perceived.

"I thought they did a decent job," said Beckman of his defenders who again forced some turnovers. "They haven't played anybody yet. I know they are eager and they are two weeks away from a game, so let's get ready."

Two areas that Gundy and his staff have been preoccupied with throughout fall camp, which in essence concluded with Saturday's scrimmage as classes begin Monday and there will be a shorter practice Sunday night, have been execution (always a concern) and tempo.

Tempo has become more of a concern with all of the spread, no-huddle offenses, which both the Cowboys and first opponent Washington State employ, and with the new clock rules and the 40-second play clock starting basically at the end of the previous play.

"The execution on on both sides of the ball and players understanding the speed of the game and personnel understanding offensive schemes and defensive schemes," answered the Cowboys head coach. "Officials were out there so we got everyone lined up. We made some mistakes but we'll get them corrected and be better next time.

"I think our team is in good shape," he added. "And I feel like we have good team chemistry. I'm comfortable with where we're at right now."

One interesting area to watch in the scrimmage was the wide receiver position where the offense and the players were adjusting to the loss of Will Cole, who tore his ACL in his right knee in a scrimmage on Wednesday. Cole was expected to play a lot in the rotation at two wide receiver spots so Saturday players were picking up the slack with the loss of the speedster.

"That is the kind of attitude that we took as a group," said co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor. "It takes somebody or bodies in the group to stand up and make up for the space that he left and it creates opportunities for somebody.

"(Mike) Gundy got me going again because I was down because he (Cole) has been like a son to me. He has come a long way even in the way he has carried himself on and off the field. You know having to call his mother and the guys watching it on tape. It was a long couple of days, but his (Cole's) attitude has helped me and so has Coach Gundy.

"I'm looking forward to see what is happening with Bo (Bowling), Coop (Josh Cooper), Hubert (Anyiam), and B-way (Jeremy Broadway) because those are the guys that are going to fit into that position."

"We play a lot of guys and we certainly miss Will. He gave us a dimension of speed," said Gundy. "He had matured and was making some plays for us and we have a lot of guys out there that can make plays."

Again, the squad will conduct a Sunday evening workout, beginning at 7 p.m. As per tradition, started by former head coach Pat Jones and continued by Gundy, the Cowboys will not practice on Monday as Oklahoma State begins fall classes.

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