Cowboy Football: Back At Practice In The Cool

STILLWATER - The Oklahoma State Cowboys were back at practice Tuesday afternoon under gray skies, and with a nice breeze and temperatures that made it feel like early October instead of late August.

Head coach Mike Gundy has always accepted the first day of classes as a day away from practice. He learned over the years that day can produce some bad practices with a lack of focus out of players trying to accomplish so many things with so many distractions including those of the female variety.

The first practice after the start of classes can still be sluggish but the Cowboys climbed that hurdle Tuesday afternoon.

"We talked about that as a team, that they have to be as focused and as good a frame of mind," said Gundy. "Their attitude is good. Practice today after a couple of days off on Sunday and Monday so we had fresh legs. Temperature was perfect for the players and we had a good workout today.

"I thought all three phases were good. Players were into it mentally and we need to come back and have a good day tomorrow. "

During the two days that the team had off the coaches had the chance to really scour the tape of Saturday's scrimmage. The coaches like to say every day is a chance to get better and the first game with Washington State is now just 10 days away.

Gundy felt the Cowboys improved on Tuesday.

"Defensively, we were in the right place most of the time, thought we tackled well and were physical," said Gundy of reviewing the scrimmage tape.

"Offense we didn't take care of the football, too many dropped balls and we could never get momentum. They practiced well today and took care of the football. It is important to catch the football and keep momentum because we play fast."

"They weren't happy with how they played and I talked to everyone of them yesterday," said offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen of primarily the receivers. "They knew they didn't play very good and we're not going to panic about it and this is going to be the same thing the whole year.

"There are going to be times in games in the near future being a first-year offense with new people it is not going to look very good at times. We need guys to understand that and not panic, not pout, not sit on the sidelines and feel sorry for themselves, and those guys are the guys who are going to have to play.

"They need to step up and do something about it and that was a good learning experience for them," added Holgorsen.

The practice lasted just over two hours and it was crisp with plenty of drill work, some work on punt returns, and a couple of team periods.

The team will be back out there Wednesday as they work toward a mock game on Saturday. Mike Gundy said this week will be 25 percent on Washington State and three-quarters on working on themselves. Next week that will go to 50/50 in practice.

Hunter Back and Ready
After missing the scrimmage on Saturday, Kendall Hunter was back in practice doing his thing and doing it well. Hunter was missed on Saturday according to just about anybody you asked on offense, as he tended to a family matter back home.

There is speculation as to what Hunter's numbers can be this season. Holgorsen had a 1,700 yard-plus rusher at Houston and Hunter could do that and maybe even chip in anouther 1,000 yards or more receiving.

"I'm feeling good," said Hunter, the man of few words. "I just do what I can to help the team out. It will all take care of itself and the numbers don't matter at all."

The quarterback knows that he likes the option of having Hunter in the backfield and keeping it simple if need be.

"It's important to have him on my team and to know if things are not going well that I can hand it to number 24," said starting quarterback Brandon Weeden.

Weeden Says Throwing the Baseball Hurt, Football Not
The question as to why Weeden got out of baseball when he did while playing for the Kansas City Royals organization may be very simple. Weeden, a pitching prospect in the minor leagues for four seasons, was sick of dealing with pain.

"I got an MRI in Kansas City and he (doctor) said, 'there is some damage there and we can cut on it or let it rehab and stuff,'" said Weeden.

"I had already done the rehab stuff and one day it felt fine and the next day I couldn't sleep at night. I didn't want to put myself through that, and thankfully it didn't hurt to throw the football."

He is right. Medically, there is a difference in throwing a baseball and a football. The baseball toss is back and from the side as football is more straight back and straight forward.

"There is so much more valgus load when you throw a baseball," explained team doctor Dr. Val Gene Iven. "It is a medial torque and that is what pitchers have a lot of mid-elbow pain, the ulnar collateral injury, the Tommy John."

Even with all the increased throwing in the offense this season, Weeden said his arm is fine and there is no soreness.

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