Cowboys To Begin Bright And Early Friday

The plan for the past several weeks was for the bulk of Oklahoma State's early practices in fall camp to begin at 8:30 a.m. and the players being off the field around 11:20 a.m. The heat has turned up a notch this week and Thursday the decision was made to move that schedule up an hour with pre-practice beginning at 7:30 a.m., stretch at 8 a.m., and practice concluding between 10:00 and 10:30.

Part of the braintrust in making those decisions in associate athletic director for strength and conditioning in Rob Glass. Glass has supervided the Cowboys all summer and then observed when they have supervised themselves in metabolic workouts.

"You really have to limit the exact time in the heat and the direct sunlight," Glass said of dealing with what have been extreme conditions. "You have to be careful and shift your training times around and be smart. It is all about recovery and making sure you can can get them back and ready for another quality workout."

Glass said he is always consulting with head coach Mike Gundy, who has the final say on such decisions. Others in that conversation include team doctor, Dr. Val Gene Iven, and new Cowboys football trainer Kevin Blaske, who has experience with extreme conditions being from the Midwest but also most recently being the head football trainer at Miami, Fla.

As Gundy, quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon talk to an Oklahoma City crowd Wednesday night at the final OSU Caravan, Gundy will pay homage to the work Glass and his staff have done with the players this summer.

One of the high marks in the weight room was a couple of weeks ago when defensive ends Richetti Jones (6-3, 270) and Jamie Blatnick (6-3, 272) both bench pressed more than 500 pounds.

"That was impressive, although we know that playing football is more than just the bench press. But that is an impressive mark to hit for those guys," said Glass, adding that Richetti Jones wanted him to pass on a message to a former teammate.

"He wanted me to get ahold of Russell Okung and tell him that Richetti was going after his (bench press) record. Russell told me to tell Richetti that he was just following Russell and had been for a long time."

Asked about other defenders, it didn't take long for Glass to come up with a newcomer that continues to hit the high marks with his coaches and teammates.

"Shaun Lewis has been a great leader on that side of the ball and he is doing a tremendous job and gets better at it every day," Glass said of the defensive side of the ball. "He works very hard and is a great example of what hard work does in the summer.

"Alex Elkins is a guy too that comes in ready. He is a junior college player that did not need a lot of work. He came in ready to jump in there and do what is needed. I'm excited about him."

Talking again about the guys up front but this time the tackles inside, Glass was very complimentary of both Christian Littlehead and Maurice Hayes. Littlehead came in last year as a freshman weighing over 360 pounds and is now right around 315 pounds. Glass said he always worked hard he just needed to adjust his nutrition to get into better shape to play and he has worked hard at it.

Hayes arrived in Stillwater having missed last season to take care of an Algebra course in order to get his associate's degree from junior college. He was weighing in close to 340 and is now close to 300 pounds.

"Those guys both worked hard," he said and then talked to about two new freshmen tackles that have come in over the summer in Amarillo's All-State performer James Castleman and the mostly hidden 6-4, 300-pound MIke Mustafa from Katy, Texas.

"I've been very impressed with James Castleman and he has been here for two full months and that is a good amount of time to gauge him as an athlete and I think he is really going to help us," Glass explained.

"MIke Mustafa is the same way, great intensity and great motor, but with Mike I have only had him for four weeks so it is kind of hard to get a true feel for him. I think we have two real defensive tackles that we won't have to turn into defensive tackles with their frame and what we have to work with."

Glass said having the veteran offensive linemen is an advantage as those guys bring a "blue collar" attitude to what they do. The line isn't the only mature group that includes a 27-year-old quarterback and an older group of wide receivers.

"It's always nice when you are dealing with maturity and you can see the fruits of your labor over time," said Glass. "Like Justin Blackmon coming in (as a freshman), and in a couple of years work in the weight room and building his body and adding power and strength.

"Then Hubert (Anyiam) has kind of battled some injuries here and there but both those guys have worked tremendously hard and will hopefully have good years."

Now while it has been reported that freshman running back sensation Herschel Sims may have arrived heavy in June, Glass said Sims has answered the summer call.

"That bar was set years ago with Dantrell Savage, and then Kendall Hunter was a very hard worker for Jeremy Smith and Joseph Randle to emulate and their work ethic," Glass said. "Herschel Sims work ethic is really good and he is a gifted athlete with a tremendous amount of strength and power and I think we will see some good things out of him."

Glass still gets the players for continued training during camp, but it is time to do the best to beat the heat and show off what has been gained in the summer months.

Practice begins on Friday, bright and early.

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