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Sophomore tailback Kelvin Bennett steps out of bounds as he heads for the end zone in McNeese State’s scrimmage on Saturday. The Cowboys play their final scrimmage of August camp tonight in Cowboy Stadium. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Sophomore tailback Kelvin Bennett steps out of bounds as he heads for the end zone in McNeese State’s scrimmage on Saturday. The Cowboys play their final scrimmage of August camp tonight in Cowboy Stadium. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Time to blow off steam at Cowboy Night tonight

Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 9:59 AM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

It’s clear the McNeese State Cowboys are ready to hit somebody else.

Tuesday evening’s practice — the penultimate of training camp — bore witness to some serious chippiness as offensive lineman Arinze Agada and safety Terence Cahee had to be separated by a gaggle of teammates and coaches at the end of a play.

Head coach Matt Viator said he likes the intensity, but offered his team a stern reminder that there will be no room for post-whistle shenanigans in a week and a half.

“This is the 18th practice, and they’ve been getting after it pretty good. That’s all a part of it,” Viator said. “We’ve really stressed to compete, and this has been a great competing camp. But you have to compete with discipline.”

In one regard, it was a surprising pair of combatants in the shoving match. Agada and Cahee are captains on their respective sides of the ball, and certainly weren’t at each other’s throats as they joked around together at last month’s Southland media day.

On the other hand, the brief spat between senior leaders wasn’t surprising at all. One would be hard-pressed to find two more intensely competitive players on the roster.

“I’m kind of glad some of those situations have happened so you have an opportunity to address them,” Viator said. “And they will be addressed again.”

The offense and defense will have one more serious donnybrook in Cowboy Stadium at 6:30 p.m. today. Cowboy Night, which was skipped last year because of a Thursday night season opener, marks the final scrimmage before McNeese turns its full attention to Week 1 opponent South Florida on Aug. 31.

For many players lower down on the depth chart or locked in position battles, Cowboy Night marks the last chance to make a compelling argument in their favor. The 3’s will push for the chance to rise to the second-string, while the backups will attempt to show they are starting material.

“It’s obviously not a game, but you want to get them in situations and see who’s going to follow the script and who can make plays,” Viator said. “You’re looking for both things, but seeing if they can stay within themselves.”

It will also be the last chance for a strong crop of true freshmen to show they’re ready to play this year. Viator said there are as many as eight newcomers who could be making the trip to South Florida.

“We’ll evaluate that Thursday and try to narrow it down as much as we can,” Viator said.

In addition to scripted plays, the Viator said the Cowboys will also work on 4-minute and 2-minute situations during the scrimmage.

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