Cowboy Practice Report: Day 5

STILLWATER - The first day in full pads is another of those milestone days in fall camp. Head coach Mike Gundy made sure Tuesday's practice did not go wasted as the Cowboys put in an energetic, high intensity practice that featured lots of opportunity for contact throughout. There was an inside drill, seven-on-seven, several team periods including team run for the defense.

Also, there was pass pro for the offensive and defensive linemen to get after it along with a little one-on-one for the linemen and running backs and linebackers.

The practice ended with a lengthy team period that featured a myriad of situations including work in the red zone and on the goal line. Each side had its high points with the offense maybe laying claim to a few more victories in the practice, but overall, Gundy seemed happy at the conclusion.

"Full pads today and it is nice to play real football," said Gundy. "Had a good practice and out there for three hours really. It ended up being three hours and finished with a few plays of full contact and not take them to the ground.

"I thought the guys practiced really well and the temperature was hot, so we were really able to exert out players. We still see young players that are going to get an opportunity to play.

"I bring that up because the veteran guys like Kendall (Hunter), Markelle (Martin), Ugo (Chinasa), Orie (Lemon) are doing a good job and everybody knows those guys, but we still have younger players in the program that are performing well and if they can continue to do that and stay healthy then we will give them a chance to play against Washington State."

Gundy dropped a few names like freshman running back Joseph Randle, wide receiver Chris Dinkins, safety Lavocheya Cooper, cornerback Justin Gilbert, linebacker Shaun Lewis, and offensive guard Gerron Anthony.

"We have a number of guys that are young, whether they are redshirt (freshmen) or true freshmen that have shown up and made some plays," said Gundy.

The defense is getting plenty of work and being pushed hard. Depth issues are a concern in spots like defensive tackle, and the suspended players, defensive end Jamie Blatnick and safety Victor Johnson, are still doing non-football workouts on the side.

Defensive end Richetti Jones saw Tuesday as an important practice.

"It was real, that is the best thing I can say, real practice, real hard practice," said Jones, too tired to take out his mouthguard. "Coach Gundy and the rest of the coaches pushed hard and it is one of those practices that will help make us better on September 4."

While the defense works on solving some of its issues heading into the season, the new offense is looking to get smooth and consistent and quarterback Brandon Weeden is feeling pretty good about the development.

"I feel good with the ones per se," said Weeden of the work. "We are making mistakes some but they are mistakes at full speed. I think that day five and we are in our second time through the offense and we are not making the same mistakes twice. That is a big thing in this offense not to make the same mistake twice. We have been more successful each time as we go through the offense."

This offense has to have receivers catch the ball and you keep hearing the names of Tracy Moore, Josh Cooper, Hubert Anyiam, Justin Blackmon and Justin Horton. Horton, by the way, is catching the ball well and had a couple of big plays in Tuesday's practice. Freshmen Chris Dinkins and Kevin Johnson get discussed as well.

I asked Weeden which receiver we had not mentioned that catches the ball everytime.

"Colton Chelf, he's great and the guy is real saavy and he knows the game and that he can sit down in an open spot and I'll find him," said Weeden. "He catches the ball and Coach Holgorsen loves that. We have four but then we have Chelf and Horton and others guys and we're building depth. Colton Chelf is really valuable because he always catches the ball."

Chelf is going to play a lot. The 5-9, 170-pound former leading pass catcher at Enid and later at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M J.C. is automatic. In the practice Tuesday he had one of the more impressive grabs when he reached behind him and caught a pass with two defenders battling with him for the ball.

"He has made some plays in practice, and it is interesting that you bring him up because he has played much better in the last three practices even than he did in the spring," said Gundy.

"Colton is a guy that this offense gives him an opportunity to play in," said wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer. "Like the Wes Welkers of the world, it gives than a chance to get (open) underneath and he and Josh Cooper have been real special."

It is what he does best as he had 41 receptions for 773 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior at Enid to earn All-District and All-State honors. He was the top receiver as a sophomore at NEO with 33 receptions for 561 yards and two touchdowns. It is what he does. He now gets the respect of being a player, not a walk-on, but a football player that can help the team.

"I am just glad that I have earned that respect. Coming in here from NEO I didn't know what to expect and I don't think the coaches knew what to expect," said Chelf.

"I put in the hard work and it is showing up, and I think they know that I can make plays out there. I played quarterback my first year in high school and then I moved to receiver and it juct clicked for me. I never drop passes. That is my pride and what I rely on. I am a small guy and I have to catch the ball."

Chelf can also play special teams and is a potential safe option on punt returns.

The Cowboys will get back at it in full pads on Wednesday. They have practices scheduled on Thursday and Friday mornings as well. Friday is the first two-a-day practice with a late workout at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday evening the Cowboys will practice and have their first scrimmage before the first off day of fall camp on Sunday. Practices remain closed in camp.

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