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Archive for Wednesday, August 24, 2005

New philosophy reigns at OSU

Cowboys acclimating to coaching changes

August 24, 2005

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— Mike Gundy is accustomed to being the one throwing the passes or plotting the inner workings of his team's offense.

But Gundy now finds himself in a more supervisory role. After four seasons as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator, the former Cowboys quarterback was hired in January to replace Les Miles as head coach.

"I'd like to say that I'm adjusting a lot, but I'm pretty comfortable right now," said Gundy, the league's only new coach this season. "The long practices bore me a little bit. I'd like to get over there and coach quarterbacks or something, but I've adjusted pretty well."

While Gundy looks on, former Florida offensive coordinator Larry Fedora now is in charge of the Cowboys' offense. His system, featuring a spread formation and no huddle, will be quite different from Oklahoma State's grinding ground game a year ago.

The system looks to take advantage of a deep receiving corps led by D'Juan Woods, the younger brother of NFL first-round pick Rashaun Woods. Chijuan Mack, Luke Frazier and Tommy Devereaux all return, along with newcomers Jeremy Broadway, junior-college transfer Tevin Williams and converted tailback Greg Gold.

Through the no-huddle system, the Cowboys hope to stay a step ahead of their opponents.

"We move fast out here, but we have to wait for the defense to break the huddle and we have to wait for them to get lined up," Woods said. "But in a game, if they're not lined up, we're running it down their throat or we're throwing it. That's the thing that we look forward to."

After lining up, the Cowboys are able to check out the defensive alignment they're facing and make adjustments before the snap.

"You can have the same play and no matter what the defense calls, there's a way you can beat it," Woods said.

Exactly who will be running the offense remains up in the air.

Donovan Woods, D'Juan's brother, returns after a seven-win season in a starting role last year. But Bobby Reid, who was in line to start before injuring his shoulder in the spring game last year, is healthy again and making a push for the job.

The Cowboys are also looking for a replacement for Vernand Morency, the 1,400-yard rusher who turned pro after his junior season. Sophomore Julius Crosslin switched from fullback to compete for the starting spot. He faces competition from redshirt freshman Mike Hamilton and sophomore Calvin Roberts.

"Nobody has a job right now," Fedora said. "All three of them are doing well. They're all competing hard."

The Cowboys also have several openings in the secondary, where the team is coping with the loss of Vernon Grant, who died in a traffic accident in May.

They also must replace cornerbacks Robert Jones and NFL draft pick Darrent Williams, plus senior safety Thomas Wright, who was dismissed by Gundy.

"We've got a lot of open spots and a lot of competition, and that means everybody's going to come with their 'A' game every day," safety Stephen James said.

As for Gundy, he says he's counting on his assistant coaches and players to help him make the transition. Since he hasn't had a game yet, he hasn't gotten much feedback.

"Nobody's said anything yet," Gundy said.

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