March 12, 2008

Five practices down

Oklahoma State wrapped up their fifth of 15 spring practices on Wednesday afternoon, and it looks like Mike Gundy is liking how things are coming together - particularly on the defensive line, which was one of the big questions for the spring.

"I feel good. We're getting good competition. The defense has been physical and I've been impressed by the down guys. They're doing a nice job, showing some maturity. Quencey Patrick. Junior Tea is looking better. He's 30 pounds lighter so that's how it should be. Derek Burton is playing with some maturity. Ugo (Chinasa) is doing a nice job of getting up the field. Richetti (Jones) has made a couple of plays and Swanson Miller has made some nice plays, shedded (blockers), got off and made tackles. Chris Donaldson made a play the other day."

The influx of some new talent from the junior college ranks may be paying off. End Derek Burton sees the talent around him in those JUCO players.

"Swanson, for being so big, he's pretty quick on his feet," Burton said. "(Jeremiah) Price, I can tell he knows what he's doing. He's got a knack for (finding) the ball. Donaldson, he's quick. He's not the biggest d-lineman, but he's quick."

Some added size appears to be helping Burton too.

"I was probably about 255 (in 2007), now I'm about 265 or 270," he said "I can tell it's helping."

The Cowboys will host their first open practice of the spring on Friday, before breaking for a week for OSU's spring break. The practice will begin at 1:30 pm and feature a scrimmage session beginning around 3:00. The scrimmage will be a semi-live situation, with full contact but no tackling to the ground. According to Gundy, finding the balance of the right amount of contact in the spring session is never easy.

"I'd like to tackle every drill," Gundy said. "The defense needs to tackle, but you won't have enough guys (healthy). You have 80 guys in the spring, and if you hit every day, by practices 10 to 15, you're playing with guys who aren't going to play, so it doesn't do you a lot of good.

"Ten, fifteen years ago, you had 150 guys and you'd just take them to the ground. Now, we have to be selective when we do that."

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