Cowboy Football Notebook

One of the popular drills for the quarterbacks in pre-practice is when they place a big rubber trash can on the back pylon in the corner of the end zone and then the quarterbacks take turns launching fade throws trying to put it in the can. It's no surprise that starter Brandon Weeden is in first in the competition in camp by about seven throws over redshirt freshman Clint Chelf of Enid.

Nate Sorenson had a hot hand early Monday, and toward the end Johnny Deaton heated up. The funny thing is when the other players come out, especailly the receivers and they start taking footballs and trying their hand at it, everybody thinks they are a quarterback.

Scouts Working on Merit Badges
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and his staff have welcomed the NFL scouts this fall camp as they always have despite some schools, such as Florida and Alabama, not permitting scouts to practices. Now Gundy has put a time limit on it as Tuesday is the last preseason practice the scouts can attend.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, and Green Bay Packers were all represented Monday.

Former Miami Hurricanes and NFL running back Alonzo Highsmith was in Stillwater for the Packers, and Highsmith has lost close to 30 pounds and looked to be at about his playing weight while checking out the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

How Do You Recruit Pro Baseball Players?
Oklahoma State now has one former pro baseball player on each side of the football, so the question is how do you recruit pro baseball players?

With quarterback Brandon Weeden it was simple. Weeden had actually signed with OSU in the early signing period of his senior year to play baseball. He already had the idea in his head of attending Oklahoma State.

Head coach Mike Gundy, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Weeden was a quarterback at Santa Fe High School in Edmond, had evaluated Weeden. When it came time to move as Weeden left spring training with the Kansas City Royals the Cowboys got a tip.

"We were contacted by people in Edmond that are friends of the program that said he was interested in playing football at Oklahoma State, and (asked) would we be interested?" explained Gundy, who by then was head coach with Larry Fedora coordinating the offense. "We said he needed to come up and sit down and talk with us, and we said we'd certainly like him to be a part and see where it goes from there."

Weeden came to a spring practice and the rest was history.

Now the Cowboys have linebacker Tyler Johnson, 6-1, 238 out of Haskell, Okla., and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization. Johnson made several tackles in Saturday's scrimmage and is looking like he might be a player.

How did he end up in Stillwater? "He just showed up," said Johnny Barr, coordinator of recruiting. "Scott Yielding (coordinator of football operations) was in the office when he came in and talked to him.

"Johnson, who had taken an official recruiting visit to OSU in December of 2003 when he was a senior, simply said he wanted to come play and did the team have room for him. The biggest obstacle was getting all of his academic information," Barr said.

Sometimes you just catch a break and the Cowboys may have done just that with Johnson's arrival.

Big Hitter
Returning All-Big 12 fullback Bryant Ward may not get as many opportunities on offense with this new attack but Ward is determined to "bring the wood" every day.

In Saturday's scrimmage one of the best hits of the day came in a full speed kickoff return drill. Ward playing fullback on the return unit laid out a defender on a return that freshman Justin Gilbert taook all the way. It's the same way Ward earned his spurs and became a starter as a freshman.

"I didn't really know anyone," said Ward of his freshman season. "I came in on the first day of two-a-days and didn't know a single person. From there I just kept trying to work as hard as I could on as much as I could, and that worked out for me."

Ward has gone from walk-on to team leader in his quick four years here. It is reasonable to expect him to be a captain this season, and by the way, Holgorsen has said he is going to find opportunities to get Ward on the field in the offense.

"I have tried to instill leadership," said Ward. "It has been kind of hard. I have tried to step up this year. You can't just lay down and give up when things get hard. You have to be the guy that gets everyone else fired up and gets everyone else up off their knees."

As for opponents, Ward is pretty good at putting them on their knees.

Young Believes in K-I-S-S
You've heard the term, keep it simple stupid. It's a sound strategy for a lot of situations and businesses. Now, I haven't heard it on the football field but it sure works, and listening to Cowboys defensive coordinator Bill Young he must believe in it.

"We try to make football into this difficult game but it's really not that difficult," said Young, who truly believes in keeping it simple for his players. "Our whole goal as a defense is to get the reaction down and to play hard, play fast and react."

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