Cowboy Football: Spring Practice-9

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy bragged about his players Friday by calling the practice one of the best practices he'd ever seen in the spring. Gundy may have paid for it Monday as the practice got off to an ominous start.

"We started out really slow and had to call them up," said Gundy "We went through special teams and it wasn't very good. They were just feeling sorry for themselves because it was cold and windy, didn't take the field with the right attitude to go out there and get better. So we called them together and talked about it and from that point on it was better.

"We actually executed well on offense, threw the ball well and caught it. Defensively, we were in the right spot most of the time. Defense has given us some trouble this spring the way they're playing and fitting things up. It's kind of difficult to move the football right now.

"I thought after the special teams period of practice was pretty good and some guys made some plays. We still have a number of young guys on both sides of the ball that haven't contributed a lot during the season and they are making plays which is exciting.

"Some of the same names we've talked about. Justin Blackmon continues to make plays. Perrish Cox has been around awhile, but he is having the best spring he has ever had. He has a tremendous attitude."

The whole defense has a really good attitude. It's because the defense is starting to get complimented and not just hammered for being the weak link.

Okay, so the talk at practice has been defense. Ask the players and they say the big reason is new defensive coordinator Bill Young. Rather than asking the players to change and learn his language he has come in and conformed to the players and made it easy by adapting to what they have doing.

"He's doing a tremendous job, man," said star linebacker James Thomas. "He's letting us play, taking what we already know and just improving it. He's letting us go out there and play. You can see out here on the field that it is working."

"He is just taking what we already know and making it easier on us to be out there to play without thinking," confirmed linebacker Orie Lemon. "Simplified, just go out there and play and get the job done."

The best thing the defense has been doing is forcing turnovers. They have come every practice with regularity and a lot of times the defense has converted them into scores, scoop and score with a fumble or return an interception all the way.

"We're doing a whole lot of disguising but I don't think Zac Robinson has thrown an interception this spring," added Lemon. "We're just out there having fun basically. That is what we emphasize every day before we come out -- turnovers, turnovers, turnovers."

"Get the ball, that's all we talk about is get the ball every day," said senior-to-be cornerback Perrish Cox.

The OSU offense averaged 40.8 points and 487.7 yards per game last season. The Cowboys defense averaged allowing 28.1 points and 405.5 yards per game. When you examine and find that the Cowboys only allowed 196 yards to both Washington State and Missouri State and just 204 yards to Baylor, now the totals in the other 10 games really go up. The defensive players want to turn their numbers around. The best way to do it is by going against the offense they go against every day in practice.

"We hear all around the nation and all around Oklahoma that Oklahoma State is just an offensive team," said Thomas. "This is one of the best offenses to go against, to practice against and it is making us better as a defense."

"It's kind of good that our offense is good and everybody is talking about them. But we are kind of tired of hearing it and would like for people to talk about the defense," said Cox.

Hey Perrish, I know it's not the regular season but people are talking about the defense, and the most important one talking about the defense is the head coach. The talk will hopefully continue on Wednesday when the Cowboys practice next at 3:30 p.m. in a closed practice session. Gundy said Monday another scrimmage is planned for Friday's practice.

Spring Practice Notes
Triplets or Quadruplets Back Together
Former Oklahoma State All-American wide receiver Hart Lee Dykes was a visitor at Monday's practice. Dykes is still a big guy even when you measure him against current players.

Dykes was back in town for an invitation-only grand opening of the Barry Sanders Super Center Auto Dealership. Sanders wasn't at practice but was in town and it was expected that former head coach Pat Jones and former running back Thurman Thomas was also going to be on hand.

Gundy said after practice he was going to shower and stop by the dealership with his oldest son Gavin.

GoPokes Top Stories