Cowboy Practice Report: Day 3

STILLWATER - There are certain days that charge up coaches and players in the preseason and one of them is the first practice in pads, which for the 2010 Oklahoma State Cowboys came bright and early at 9 a.m. Sunday. The first practice in pads is always at least a mild indicator of what kind of team you might have in the upcoming season.

One long-time observer agreed that the Cowboys' practice Sunday was one of the better first practice in shoulder pads in recent years.

The team was in helmets and shoulder pads, so contact was limited to above the waist, but according to witnesses including the Cowboy Extreme Campers it was physical and there was a good mixture of veterans and newcomers providing the sparks during the practice. The Cowboy Extreme Camers, some 55 of them, got a total access look into the Cowboys fall camp for the first three days including team and position meetings as well as training table meals.

Sunday's practice, which lasted right at two and a half hours from stretch to stretch, was held on the grass practice field east of Gallagher-Iba Arena.

It included lots of seven-on-seven work but also contact work between offense and defense in one on one situations such as running backs working linebackers on blitz pick up, groups with an inside drill, and full team periods.

Defensive coordinator Bill Young has been more pleased with each practice as he has seen his defensive line make strides.

Former offensive lineman DeJuan Davis and redshirt freshman Anthony Rogers have made strides at defensive tackle. There is a definite need for more help behind starters Shane Jarka and Chris Donaldson, who both had good practices. Nigel Nicholas has as good a technique as any defensive tackle but gets by a lot on that technique and quickness as he only weighs in at 280, sometimes 275 after a hot practice.

"You have to whip blocks, get your assignment, and make tackles," said Young. "They are in shape but we've had to get them from holding back like you sometimes do in early practices and get them to go full speed. They did that a lot more today with the shoulder pads on."

On the offensive side of the ball there is a lot of talk about the running backs as Kendall Hunter, Jeremy Smith, Travis Miller and freshman Joseph Randle are all playing at a high level.

"I'm pleased with the effort," said running backs coach Robert Gillespie. "I am still looking for more consistency and doing more after the catch. The running game is good and our guys work hard on blocking. We just need to maximize being playmakers in this offense."

The youngster patrol has been out as the Cowboy Extreme Campers have eyeballed the young players along with Gundy and coaches.

On offense, the names that keep coming up are Randle, wide receivers Chris Dinkins and Kevin Johnson, and on the offensive line Jacob Jenkins is getting some praise. On defense, the names being repeated are Shaun Lewis, a big hiiter at linebacker, and cornerback Justin Gilbert, safety Zach Craig, linebacker Joe Mitchell, linebacker Caleb Lavey, and safety Lavocheya Cooper.


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