OSU Practice Report: Day 1

STILLWATER - Number one was in the books and it was in as early as any first day practice in memory. Due to the extreme heat in Oklahoma and throughout the southwest, the Oklahoma State Cowboys moved up their practices to 7:30 a.m. on Friday. The team hit the field for pre-practice at that time and then went through stretching drills at 8 a.m. Friday's practice concluded around 10:15 a.m.

For your information, at the start of practice the temperature was 81 degrees and by the time the team came off the grass practice fields on the east side of Gallagher-Iba Arena the thermometer had jumped to 96 degrees.

As for the practice, it was the first of the five-day acclimatization period that leads to Tuesday's first day in full pads. The workout was conducted in shorts, jerseys, and helmets, and the team worked special teams with an emphasis on punt unit.

There were plenty of individual periods for drills and evaluation of players and then full unit periods for installation of offense and defense. Without pads it is hard to evaluate a lot of areas, plenty of learning and checking out skills and conditioning.

"It was good to get back out there today," head coach Mike Gundy said of his eighth-ranked Cowboys. "The guys moved around really well and some of the veteran players made some plays.

"Brandon (Weeden) threw the ball well. (Justin) Blackmon made some catches. Hubert (Anyiam) made some catches. Defensively, Jamie Blatnick looked good moving around; so did Markelle Martin, Brodrick Brown, Justin Gilbert -- some of the key guys.

"We had a nice two-hour, 15-minute practice and I think the guys are in the right frame of mind," he added. "The first few days are always easy, and we're just looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow. It was nice to be on the field and be around the players."

Expectations are always high for the first practice when you return an all-conference quarterback and the bulk of the starters on an offense as high powered as Oklahoma State's. Both quarterback Brandon Weeden and new offensive coordinator Todd Monken gave their thoughts on practice number one.

"It went pretty well for a first workout," Monken said. "There wasn't much in the way of stupid penalties and busts like you might normally see early in the camp."

"I expect to be almost perfect, especially with the first team guys," Weeden expressed. "I thought, honestly, it looked really well. I tell you who looked good, Isaiah Anderson probably made more plays than anybody on the field today. I think, overall, I am pretty pleased with how we executed. We played fast and executed the plays and the mistakes were minimal."

Anderson wasn't the only one, although he did catch a beautiful deep ball off of a Weeden throw in the team period toward the end of practice. There were others that caught the eye of the head coach, including some of those younger players just starting in the program and part of the much celebrated Cowboys 2011 recruiting class.

"Mike Mustafa (freshman defensive tackle) played well and Josh Stewart did a nice job on offense," the head coach said. "I thought (true freshman linebacker Ryan) Simmons did a nice job of moving around.

"I felt Daytawion Lowe – who's not a new guy, but a guy that missed a year – did a nice job moving around. I kind of watch for that and try to get a feel for some of those guys. I thought Herschel (Sims, freshman running back) did a nice job."

Oklahoma State will be out bright and early again Saturday morning for practice two.

Gundy made a decision on Friday to miss the practice as well as fan appreciation day and media day to join his family in Orlando, Fla., at the Walt Disney's World of Sports Complex to see his middle son, 9-year-old Gunnar, compete with the Oklahoma Elite in the OSSSA 32 World Series National Championship Game.

The younger Gundy has been down there all week competing in the national baseball event and Gundy promised his son he would be there for him if they made it to the championship round.

Associate head coach Joe DeForest and the staff will carry on and Gundy is expected back for Sunday's practice and activities.


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