By Nick Snow
NORMAN, Okla. —
If there was one thing Stillwater football coach Tucker Barnard was concerned about heading into Friday’s scrimmage in Norman it was whether or not his team would have enough gas to make it through the scrimmage.
Throw in 90-plus degree temperatures and that concern suddenly became a big issue for the Pioneers.
But while the heat and humidity played a big role for a lot of teams, surprisingly it didn’t have much of an effect on the Pioneers.
“We were still going strong in the end,” Barnard said. “I thought it might be an issue just because we got off the bus and it was so hot. The kids reacted well and played hard. We started fast and played well on both sides of the ball. It really didn’t seem like it was a factor. We were really fortunate — no cramps, nobody having to leave for any issues — so we felt really good about it.”
Another thing Stillwater felt good about? The amount of guys that did play without much of a drop off.
Because of the heat, Barnard was forced to use guys as deep as third string in hopes of limiting injuries. But that’s where Barnard saw the biggest surprise.
“We did some nice things on offense and did some pretty solid things on defense,” Barnard said. “It was just a pretty solid effort. We did a lot of rotation once we got into it, so we had a lot of guys get a lot of reps. But I was really pleased with how some of the other guys filled in. It’s not easy to do when it’s this hot out, but they did a great job filling in and we were able to keep everybody safe and healthy, which is the big thing.”
Among those that did shine in the scrimmage were guys like Marlon McDonald and Cameron Mayberry. Along with a 40-yard touchdown run, Mayberry also was one of the leaders in tackles defensively.
“I thought Cameron played really well,” Barnard said. “He had a 40-yard touchdown for us and he made some really big tackles for us defensively. That’s something we need to have out of a guy like him.”
Friday’s scrimmage also gave Stillwater its first look at McAlester, a team the Pioneers open with next week. But while the Pioneers may have showed too much in Barnard’s eyes, he said he didn’t really get a good read on what’s in store when the season kicks off next week.
“They didn’t run their quarterback and that’s a big part of their offense,” Barnard said. “He was still getting reads, but that’s about it. Whereas we may have shown them some things, they were a little vanilla, but we have a good idea of what they run just as they have a good idea of what we like to run.”