OSU Football: The Build-Up Continues

STILLWATER -- Most of the Oklahoma State football players have cleared out of Stillwater for a few days as the second semester of summer school concluded on Friday and so did the Cowboys voluntary summer strength and conditioning program.

The coaching staff is back at work, but this weekend the Cowboys coaches are spending time with family. They will report on Sunday for one last camp session as high school seniors and juniors will converge on Boone Pickens Stadium for a final one-day minicamp session.

In the past I've referred to this period as the calm before the storm, but there is no storm on the horizon. The program is now projected for success and it is more of continuing the build up to an exciting football season.

Head coach Mike Gundy and his staff have loaded the program with not only good football players but young men of high character. So the worry that something may happen while the players are off campus and waiting for Thursday to report seems a lot less likely these days. Believe me coaches will still worry, but there is a confidence in this program that players will do the right things.

Several defections have taken place as freshman defensive tackle Ashaad Mabry was lost to a family situation that caused him to transfer to Texas-San Antonio and be closer to home. Players down the depth chart like quarterback Johnny Deaton, quarterback-turned-wide receiver and baseball player Nate Sorenson, and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Javius Townsend left looking for better playing opportunities.

There aren't any other transfers expected. The cast is known and the goal is to improve on last season's all-time school best season in wins at 11-2 to winning a Big 12 Championship and working toward a BCS bowl berth.

The players report Thursday in three groups, and will come together Thursday evening for the annual welcome back dinner at the training table for the always anticipated first team meeting where head coach Mike Gundy will set the tone.

I would love to be in that room and hear what Gundy lays out there for this team. The challenge is there for the seventh-year head coach to move his team from the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment of last season to stressing the hunger that needs to be present to take another huge and important step to being a championship program.

Here is a quick rundown of what to expect during fall camp.

Thursday, Aug. 4 - Report, welcome back team dinner and team meeting
Friday, Aug. 5 - First practice (helmets and shorts)
Saturday, Aug. 6 - Second practice (helmets and shorts), Fan Appreciation Day @ 2 p.m., Media Day
Sunday, Aug. 7 - Third practice (helmet and shoulder pads)
Monday, Aug. 8 - Fourth practice (helmet and shoulder pads)
Tuesday, Aug. 9 - Practice in full pads
Wednesday, Aug. 10 - Practice in full pads
Thursday, Aug. 11 - Practice in full pads
Friday, Aug. 12 - Two-a-day practice day, full pads in AM/helmets and shorts in PM
Saturday, Aug. 13 - Scrimmage
Sunday, Aug. 14 - No practice, meetings only
Monday, Aug. 15 - Two-a-day practice day, full pads in AM/helmets and shorts in PM
Tuesday, Aug. 16 - Practice in full pads
Wednesday, Aug. 17 - Two-a-day practice day, full pads in AM/helmets and shorts in PM
Thursday, Aug. 18 - Practice in full pads
Friday, Aug. 19 - Two-a-day practice day, pads in the AM/helmets and shorts in PM
Saturday, Aug. 20 - Scrimmage
Sunday, Aug. 21 - Meetings only
Monday, Aug. 22 - First day of classes, no practice

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