Defense ruled the day during Oklahoma State's second scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday. The Cowboys young secondary was solid during the 100-play scrimmage.
"The defense performed very well," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. "The offense didn't play very well which allowed the defense to make a number of plays."
After a solid scrimmage last week, the offense struggled on Saturday.
"We have plenty of guys who can make plays (on offense) but we just didn't perform tonight," Gundy said. "We needed somebody to step up and show leadership on that side of the ball."
One offensive highlight was a acrobatic touchdown catch by redshirt freshman Michael Harrison. Freshman cornerback Justin Gilbert had another highlight with a 80-yard punt return for a touchdown.
The injury bug has hit OSU's linebacking corps with three of the Cowboys' four scholarship middle linebackers likely out for the season with injuries. Senior Orie Lemon is the lone scholarship player who remains healthy at the position.
"Before camp that was the deepest position on the defense," linebackers coach Glenn Spencer said. "We had Orie, Tolu (Moala), Kenny (Alexander) and I've never, in my career, lost three guys at that position before the first game. Tyler Johnson was No. 5, all of a sudden, he's No. 2.
"It's not a good situation."
Spencer said Moala tore his ACL and partially tore his MCL knee in practice earlier this week and would miss the season. Alexander (knee) and Lavey (arm) were injured shortly after fall practices began.
Fortunately for the Pokes, Johnson, the former baseball player who entered the program as a walk on this season, has been one of the most pleasant surprises of camp. However, Spencer said Johnson isn't necessarily next in line to play after Lemon because senior Justin Gent has been taking reps at middle linebacker in recent practices.
From scout team to standouts
Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Josh Cooper have developed great quarterback-receiver chemistry heading into their first season starting alongside each other in the Cowboys offense. Cooper has an exceptional knack for getting open and Weeden is getting more comfortable in Dana Holgorsen's offense as each day passes.
"We came in (together) on the scout team," Cooper said. "He was on the scout team my freshman year and we kind of developed that (chemistry). I think we'll have a good connection."
Davidell Collins is coming on
True freshman defensive lineman Davidell Collins has been a pleasant surprise during OSU's fall practices. The Bearden, Ark., native could play his way out of a redshirt year and provide depth along the Pokes' defensive front.
"Davidell Collins is adapting quicker than most freshmen on the defensive line," senior defensive tackle Chris Donaldson said.
Collins, at 6-foot-5, 268 pounds, has good size with room to put on additional weight as his collegiate career progresses. Largely overlooked during the recruiting process, Collins was a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com.
Focused on leadership
Weeden knows that his leadership could be one of the biggest keys to success for OSU this season. The junior quarterback has focused on becoming one of the leaders of the team since last year's Cotton Bowl and expects to be the guy his teammates look to when things go awry this season.
"We are going to hit a wall eventually," he said. "It's my job to calm everybody down. If we go three-and-out, we hate that, so you pull everybody aside and say, 'That can't happen, we need to move the chains.'"
Weeden singled out leadership as the most important attribute a quarterback needs to succeed in Holgorsen's offense.