By Chris Walsh
STILLWATER, Okla. —
After more than a week of acclimation to a new offense, getting back into a football mindset and bracing the heat, the Oklahoma State Cowboys were finally able to start seeing what they are working with.
And head coach Mike Gundy likes what he sees.
“I’m pleased with where they’re at, at this stage,” Gundy said following Saturday’s closed scrimmage, the first of the season. “The offense and defense did really well.
“We just have to work on the little things, the things we can control and just stay with our base fundamentals. Just get better at our football.”
In his offense’s first chance at showing off their new passing attack, offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen said there were ups and downs and plenty to work on.
“I feel good about nine guys on offense, we’ve got to find nine more,” Holgorsen said.
Asked whether his receivers are adjusting well to the new offense, Holgorsen said: “The first group is. They’re doing fine.”
One of his veteran pass-catchers, Josh Cooper, echoed Holgorsen’s sentiments.
“We had some good things and some bad,” Cooper said. “There’s a lot of stuff to work on, but we’re coming together. I’m sure that before camp’s done, we’ll jell.”
Junior quarterback Brandon Weeden felt good with the group on the other end of his passes, but he too acknowledged they’re far away from ready.
“We’ve got some guys on offense that can make plays, but it’s my job to get the ball in their hands,” Weeden said. “I’m pleased with the way (the receivers) played tonight. They really stepped up.
“We’re getting comfortable. We’re on the same page, but we still made mistakes. I felt a lot better today than even the spring game though.”
Weeden also acknowledged that the fire to put up points was definitely burning, even if he was going against his team’s defense.
“We like to see those guys succeed, but when we line it up out here, we want to win,” Weeden said.
One of the guys on the defensive side trying to stop the new-look offense was junior safety Markelle Martin. He knows his unit has their work ahead if they’re gonna stop some of the Big 12 powerhouse offenses.
“We’ve got to make a lot of corrections,” Martin said. “We picked it up a lot, made adjustments and corrected a lot of mistakes on the field, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”
OSU’s defense will get another chance when they face the offense in a second scrimmage next Saturday.
Oklahoma State ran approximately 100 plays without doing any special teams work. The team worked on red zone and goal line situations.
Defensive tackle Chris Donaldson registered two safeties on quarterback sacks. Defensive end Richetti Jones and linebacker LeRon Furr also stepped up defensively, with Gundy citing the efforts of Brodrick Brown, who scored a touchdown, linebacker Justin Gent and defensive back Justin Gilbert.
But receivers Justin Blackmon, Tracy Moore and Josh Cooper gave the offense some big plays, as well as running back Jeremy Smith.
“There was some give and take with the offense and the defense. I thought Weeden threw the ball well. I was pleased with both sides of the ball. It seemed to me we had a number of guys catch the ball. We may have had 10 guys catch the ball with just the ones (first-stringers).”