Cowboy Football: Spring Practice-11

STILLWATER - The weather was good and Oklahoma State's second major scrimmage of the spring went by in the blink of an eye. Some 100 plays from scrimmage and 20 or so special teams plays later it was over early giving players a chance to hit the road to head home for the Easter weekend. Head coach Mike Gundy was smiling after what he saw during Friday's two-hour, 20-minute work period.

"We had a good day today. The offense got the defense today. It was opposite of last week. Last week the defense got the offense pretty good," said Gundy."Today the offense got the best of the defense.

"We have one more opportunity next week where we'll let them scrimmage about 50 plays or so and see who can win for the spring. We had very good effort and continued to have a lot of young players contribute which is exciting to me.

"The most fun part of our job as coaches is to see young guys develop and make plays, make mistakes and correct them and we saw a lot of that today. It was a good day and we stayed healthy and looking forward to Easter weekend. A lot of them are traveling home so we hope they get back safe."

One of the plays that coaches and players were talking about afterwards was a 30-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Weeden, one of three he tossed, to DeMarcus Conner. It was the proverbial frozen rope.

"He looked at me and he threw it hard and Weeden has got an arm, his passes, you have to grip it and you can't double clutch it," said Conner, who made the catch in the heart of the end zone. "It's a play where the tight end comes underneath on the corner route and I've got the post. As I went past Markelle Martin he lost track of me and I just zipped around and Weeden threw a good pass. He just zipped it in there."

"Brandon Weeden played very well today, maybe his best scrimmage," said Gundy. "He has an exceptional arm and he's improved this spring in his ability to run the ball.

"here has been a number of times where protection has broke down and in the past he just fired it into coverage and now he has learned to pull it down and run it. He is a very physical person, I mean he is 225 to 230 pounds and he's run very well. He's made some strides this spring.

"Zac (Robinson) obviously made some plays and took off and broke one for about 70 (yards) and it was nice to see him do that."

Gundy was referencing the first touchdown of the day as Robinson and first team running back Kendall Hunter were said to have only been in for about three series. Robinson really revved up that zone read and was untouched.

"My job is to go in and cruise and shield and make sure the tackle gets the middle linebacker and Orie (Lemon) he was actually the middle linebacker and I shield him off," said Conner, who is known as the best blocking wide receiver on the Cowboys. "Zac went behind Orie and went up the field, so he made my job easy."

There were more heroes in the scrimmage on offense. There had to be with Robinson and Hunter exiting early and Dez Bryant being a spectator this spring. The offensive line has to get some credit.

"We had good pass protection today," added Gundy. "Beau Johnson continues to run the ball well. Kendall (Hunter) played like he always plays. Kye Staley is making plays. Kye Staley is going to get an opportunity to get on the field and run the football next year because he is very physical."

Enough for the offense, the defense did have something to hang its hat on. It was a vast improvement from this area a year ago. The players have credited defensive coordinator Bill Young with making the game more simple, keeping the language the same they were familiar with, and motivating. The hits have been more plentiful and they have been loud and crisp.

"Perrish Cox made some nice plays on defense and then Broderick Brown and Terrance Anderson made some plays at corner," said Gundy. "Johnny Thomas made some nice tackles and Andrew McGee came up and made some nice tackles."

"We've got some physical guys and we've got some athletic guys, but like you said we gave up some big plays," said defensive coordinator Bill Young.

"I made a couple of bad calls that didn't help us. We had some issues with some secondary coverages a couple of times and we got out of our gaps up front a couple of times. Our offense is so athletic that if you give them an inch they are going to take a mile," Young added.

All in all, few injuries and none serious with lots of work that built some more confidence on both sides of the football, that is a good day in spring football on any college campus.

"I'm excited about our team," concluded Gundy. "I like the way the defense plays even though today they got the short end of the stick. I just like the way that were tackling. We've got more depth, and we've got good leadership on that side of the ball. It's exciting for me as a coach to watch these guys develop."

The next practice is Monday. With a make-up practice in the bag the Cowboys will also go on Wednesday and Thursday before the Orange-White Game on Saturday, April 18, at 6 p.m.

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