Cowboys' quarterback contest waits while offense is implemented

Saturday, March 5th 2005, 4:59 pm

By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid sat on the turf a few steps away from each other and answered question after question. Reid got up, patted Woods on the head and headed off to the locker room.

There was no quarterback controversy between the two on the first day of spring practice at Oklahoma State on Saturday. Instead, the teammates were enjoying the first chance to get on the football field and just play.

``It's not really a race,'' Reid said. ``I'm just competing. Whatever happens happens. I'm just going to play football.''

Both Reid, who missed last year with a shoulder injury, and Woods, who won seven games as a freshman, said they're instead concentrating on learning a new system brought in by coach Mike Gundy's offensive coordinator, Larry Fedora.

Gundy has said the Cowboys would work without a huddle and aim to pass the ball more instead of focusing on a bruising running attack like last year. The first-year coach and his staff have been teaching the system to players, but the practice at Boone Pickens Stadium was the first chance to see how much had soaked in.

``I was impressed with the knowledge our players had with the new system because it's quite a bit of learning and it's much different on the field than it is in the meeting room,'' Gundy said.

Receiver D'Juan Woods _ Donovan's brother _ said he didn't know how long it would take to implement the new schemes, but he thought the team was off to a good start.

``Everything we learned up in the meeting rooms, when we came out here and we actually did it, we actually knew more than I thought we knew,'' he said. ``We very seldom busted a play or a route, and that's a good thing.''

``All we have to do now is build on that and move forward.''

The Cowboys will hold a total of 15 spring practices. Three will be held before the school's spring break, and the rest are after the athletes return. A few hundred fans turned out to watch practice _ something they couldn't do under previous coach Les Miles _ and saw a session that players said was a quicker pace than those before the coaching switch.

``With us having a high-tempo offense, I think the coaches are demanding more of us,'' Reid said. ``In the time that we are out here, let's get it done and get off the field. Let's spend all our time out here on football.''

Gundy said that was by design.

``Our staff feels like it's important that we keep a high tempo,'' Gundy said. ``We believe that the players at this level have to practice exactly the way they're going to play on Saturday. If we get anything accomplished this spring, it's to understand the system on both sides of the ball and learn how to practice at a high tempo.''

Donovan Woods said there's already a certain amount of pressure on the quarterbacks to be familiar with the offense.

``You have to know it. You can't think you know it. You have to know it,'' he said. ``Everyone's looking at you, but if you don't tell them, then they're not going to know what to do. You just have to know your stuff.''

And that's even tougher, Reid said, after making the move from the controlled environment of the meeting room to the field. Communication is a necessity.

``You've got your whole offensive staff hollering and screaming in one ear and you've got the defensive staff screaming in one ear, and you're trying to put everything together.

``It's a lot different out here.''

The Cowboys practice again Monday and Wednesday before spring break.

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