Cowboy Practice Report: Wednesday

STILLWATER - After calling Tuesday's practice somewhat of a wasted opportunity, Mike Gundy said Wednesday's two workouts were average. "I thought some good thing happened but at times we didn't practice very hard. We need to practice with a lot of intensity every day; opportunity to get better. Washington State has the same opportunity we do every day and I didn't think we took advantage of it."

Gundy seemed to get a renewed enthusiasm for the workout of his team. The first workout in the morning was a revved up affair on the Boone Pickens Stadium turf that featured among other things, a lively inside drill that was causing folks with office windows on the west side of Gallagher-Iba Arena to quit working and take notice.

The full pad practice also included a couple of team periods that were enthusiastic and physical. It was an intense workout with plenty of energy.

The second workout Wednesday evening was back on the grass practice fields east of Gallagher-Iba Arena and was conducted in helmets, spider pads, and shorts. It was again heavy on special teams and execution of both offense and defense versus scout units.

The media had a chance to feel out the coaches and players on Tuesday over the scrimmage from last Saturday and what their thoughts were after being able to view it on tape. It was a good scrimmage in that both the number one offense and number one defense dominated the number two units, and then head-to-head the top units each had their moments against each other.

"The video from Saturday showed we carried out our assignments and played pretty well, we really did," said defensive coordinator Bill Young. "We saw a lot of promise and we are really excited about that."

"Just two of the things that we talk about around here more than anything are tempo and effort," said offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen when asked about Saturday's tape.

"Our ones looked good and our twos looked bad and when it comes to tempo and effort, our ones are understanding at times. We have a long way to go but they understand that everything has to be done with effort and everything has to be done with tempo. Our twos didn't do that at all. The ones did it around 75 percent of the time, so we're focusing on that this week," added Holgorse.

Holgorsen is a tough critic and when asked about consistency in the offense he really implied that complete satisfaction is not going to happen.

"I don't think I ever become satisfied to be honest with you," said the architect of the nation's top offense in college football last season at Houston. "There is always room for improvement. The closer we get to game time, the more we need to develop continuity within the unit. That is basically consistency."

The first game is getting closer, and it is showing signs of getting near with Gundy making the first post-practice mention of Washington State. During practices the offense and defense are starting to work several periods against scout teams that act as Washington State.

The top concern, according to the head coach, is the same one we have expressed all spring, summer, and now preseason.

"We're still concerned about depth at the defensive tackle spot," answered Gundy. "We'll be okay at the end spot because we will have guys rotate through that have experience but at the defensive tackle spot we have to stay healthy. We always seem to talk about that every year. Those guys are so hard to find. We need the guys starting to stay healthy and play hard."

Seniors Shane Jarka (6-3, 298) and Chris Donaldson (6-1, 296) are those two starters and if he knew they were going to be healthy all season, if the football genie told him that, then Bill Young would sleep better.

"I'd sleep a lot better," said Young. "I sleep pretty good, but I would sleep better if I knew that was going to happen. We need those guys, they are vital to us. The depth at defensive tackle is really, really slim right now.

"We moved (freshman) Davidell Collins (6-5, 266) in there from defensive end and then had to move him back to defensive end when we had some guys cramp up. We are kind of struggling there a little bit."

Young said getting freshmen Christian Littlehead and Joseph Okafor in next week after they were cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center will be a huge boost in depth. Neither is expected to be in playing shape for the opener as they have not been in Stillwater all summer long, but they will help.

There are other concerns but defensive tackle depth would be the most major of all problems looking at the squad.

The Cowboys will be back to one practice on Thursday with a 9 a.m. session scheduled for the grass practice fields. Friday will bring the final two-a-days practice of the camp and then Saturday the second and final scrimmage of camp.

The Cowboys will then have two days off - Sunday and the first day of school on Monday - before returning to the practice field Tuesday.

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