Cowboy Football: Spring Practice Notebook

Besides recent signee and future Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf from Enid the Cowboys had some recruits visiting practice on Tuesday.

Zack Craig and his teammate Randall Perkins were in Stillwater all the way from dynamo Texas high school power Smithson Valley High School near San Antonio. Smithson Valley has been one of the top 5A teams in Texas over the last decade dominating District 26.

Craig is a 6-1, 175-pound cornerback with 4.5 speed. He was second team All-District last season and is also a track standout. He recently covered the 300 hurdles in a time of 39.63 seconds. Perkins is a wide receiver for Smithson Valley and they were there with Craig's mother and younger brother.

Jacob Bundrick is a 6-1, 200-pound linebacker out of Springdale (Har-Ber), Arkansas. Bundrick has 108 total tackles last season inclduing a hug performance with 19 tackles in a playoff win over Cabot.

Yet another high school visitor was Fort Worth (Southwest Christian), Texas offensive lineman Michael Atherton. The 6-3, 265-pound Atherton was there with his mother and father watching practice very intently.

There were visiting coaches too as part of the coaching staff from Jones County Community College in Mississippi was there. Of course, Cowboy defensive end Jeremiah Price is a product of Jones County. The coaching staff from Dodge City High School was also eyeballing practice.

Back from Break
Spring break is a scary proprosition for college coaches as the players take out for all sorts of destinations. Quarterbacks Zac Robinson and Brandon Weeden, offensive tackle Andrew Mitchell, and former punter Matt Fodge went to Las Vegas. Quarterback Alex Cate went skiing. Defensive tackle Chris Donaldson went fishing at home in Kansas.

Those are just a few examples. Many of the coaches went on vacations with their families. Head coach Mike Gundy took his family to the Washington, D.C., and surrounding area for some history lessons. In the end, Gundy said he is just glad to get the players back safe and sound.

"You know I always worry about that time and we have 120 guys going off and they are kids and they are going to have fun," said Gundy of spring break. "It is a time where I worry more than any when our guys are not here with us. We all made it back safe and I am thankful for that."

He said a year ago that he had quit asking for spring break stories. "Don't ask any," said Gundy. "When I walked in the meeting today I thought about asking and then I thought, don't ask any questions, just be glad they are all back."

It's not just Vegas, it's spring break, what happens on spring break stays on spring break, at least when the head coach is concerned.

Donaldson Being Noticed
It is early in spring practice but Gundy, when asked if any one player is surprising him or standing out so far, said defensive tackle Chris Donaldson is making an impression. The junior college transfer out of Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College will be a junior this upcoming season and the 6-2, 286-pounder could really help out depth at that position.

"Chris Donaldson has really made some plays up front and has done better," said Gundy. "He should because he has been here a year and has got some strength and has stayed low. It's the system that Coach (Bill) Young has in place has benefitted him. He has shown up some with some toughness and having another guy to rotate in there at that one technique would be good for us."

Young agreed with Gundy. "He's done a nice job and he is really quick off the football and that is probably his biggest asset because he is not the biggest defensive tackle out there," said Young. "Quickness and getting off the football are very important you can pick him out on the film."

No More Wedge
We are not talking about a lettuce wedge, but the wedge return on kickoffs in the NFL. The wedge has been a part of the game forever and breaking up the wedge used to be a football test of manhood for rookies in the NFL. The league is outlawing the famous kickoff return scheme and we asked Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeForest about it. DeForest, himself a former NFL linebacker, may have been asked to break up a wedge.

"Wow, I haven't kept up with the NFL and I know we've had some rule changes that are going to effect part of of us," said DeForest when told about the NFL ruling. "I know in the NFL they put a couple of offensive linemen back in the fullbacks spots and guys run down there 100 miles an hour and blow each other up. I'm sure it is a safety issue, that's my guess."

Does DeForest see the NCAA following the NFL lead? He wasn't sure, but the NFL decision did bring back a memory, a recent OSU memory.

"That play reminds me of Rob Johnson against Tulsa and he ran down there and blew the thing up and knocked the guy's helmet off and knocked him out and the kid hit his face first and had a bloody nose," said DeForest. "That was a wedge. You know you don't see it a lot. You see it some but not a lot."

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