Cowboy Football: Friday's Workout Canceled

STILLWATER - If you looked up it wasn't long before your face was drenched and you had a hard time seeing. Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy decided his players couldn't do it. He decided this right after the Cowboys stretched some 20 minutes late for the 3:30 p.m. Friday practice that was also supposed to include a 50-play scrimmage, the first of spring football 2009.

The players were drenched, the coaches with most wearing water-proof rain suits were drenched, and looking at quarterback Brandon Weeden's clear helmet shield, it was so fogged up there was no way he could see to throw a pass. He didn't have to as Gundy whistled and pointed to Gallagher-Iba Arena and the locker room.

Since all the team did was stretch, NCAA rules will allow them to make up this practice and come back and get in the work. The next practice for the Cowboys will be on Monday at 3:30 p.m.

Gundy did not speak with the media after the practice but there is no secret he has been talking up a modified indoor facility with just a simple bubble with the larger and more elaborate Sherman Smith Indoor Facility to be built when the funding is there.

Gundy has said the program really needs that type of facility. It is not just a show for recruiting. Several recruiting prospects had said they wanted to come watch practice Friday, including recently announced walk-on Donte Foster from Guthrie, Okla., nd 2010 prospects like Celina, Tex. national top 300 linebacker Caleb Lavey, Midwest City Carl Albert defensive back Tre'Vante Porter, and Owasso jumbo offensive tackle Trent Spurgeon.

Spurgeon reportedly still came up to visit family friends in Stillwater while the others postponed coming up until later in spring practice. The prospects not coming was obviously partly due to the weather forecast, which nothing could be done about. The canceled practice could have been saved with a bubble facility. There is an impact in recruiting, but Gundy will tell you too that he would like to keep his team on schedule.

There wasn't a practice, but that doesn't mean that there weren't some players anxious to get out there and show off what they can do to help the team. The wide receivers have been anxious all spring. With superstar Dez Bryant sitting out following minor knee surgery after the Holiday Bowl and the permanent departure of second leading wide receiver Damian Davis and the suspension following an arrest of slot receiver Bo Bowling, the other receivers have been eager to show what they can do and work to lock up position on the depth chart now that it is so readily available.

That list of receivers includes young pups -- redshirt freshmen Justin Blackmon, Isaiah Anderson and Adrian Richards. But especially eager are some of the veteran receivers that have yet to break out. Former All-State standout Josh Cooper from Mustang, Okla., has been well hyped. He was a star in high school and the coaches have been impressed at times but injuries have held him back. The feeling is this spring is his major opportunity.

"Yeah, it really is," agreed Cooper, who has two career catches, a six-yard grab in the opener against Washington State and a four-yard catch against Baylor. "I kind of have to step up and make plays out there. We all do because we lost a few key guys from last year. I think we're all good enough to go out there and make plays."

Hubert Anyiam had a fantastic offseason as he came in this spring looking bigger and stronger, but fit and fast. The Garland, Texas product was a big-time prospect that was recruited by the likes of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Arizona, Kansas, and Louisville. He had three receptions last season including an important catch at Missouri. Three receptions in a season is not what he pictures for himself as a college receiver.

"I came through the off season prepared to do better and put more effort into the offense than I did last year," said Anyiam. "Of course, last year we had Dez playing in front of me and we had to get his reps in and he was playing good. Now I'm trying to get rolling and do whatever I can to help the team. I'm hoping I can make a big impact and come in off a strong offseason.

"I've been looking for opportunities and this is a big opportunity," continued the 6-1, 198-pound speedy Anyiam. "Some guys are gone and I have my chance and I want to be one of those starters going into this season and then coming back for next year. I want to put myself in as a starter that other guys have to take aim at."

Cooper didn't say it that way but he has been around this program enough to know it is time for some other players to make themselves useful. He grew up an Oklahoma State fan. His uncle, Louis Blackwell, was a linebacker and defensive end at OSU. It means something to Cooper.

"It's real exciting to be in position to go out there and have the opportunity to make plays," said Cooper, who will also get a chance to return kicks and punts. "A lot of guys have to step up and prove themselves this spring. I'm one of them and we need to develop new leaders on this team and new leaders at wide receiver."

It shouldn't be much of an adjustment but Cooper and Anyiam have a new and old position coach with them at wide receiver. Co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer is back coaching wide receivers after the departure of Trooper Taylor to Auburn. Brewer is more demanding, but also more of a resource.

"It was a big change, obviously both coaches are aggressive," said Anyiam. "Coach Brewer and Coach Trooper (Taylor) are aggressive coaches, but it has kind of come back to being familiar because I came in with Coach Brewer coaching the wide receivers. He recruited me and was my recruiting coach and then he coached me my first year and it's kind of back to being regular. I am familiar with Coach Brewer and it has made me a little more comfortable."

Friday's scrimmage would have been an important step for the wide receivers, a step they will take next week. The key is fulfilling promise and for the Cowboys offense to fulfill its promise of even being better and more explosive next season they will need more than the eight receptions they got from the returning receivers other than Dez Bryant. Cooper and Anyiam certainly sound like they would like to help that cause.

The Cowboys' next spring practice, which will count as number six, will be Monday at 3:30 p.m.

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