OSU Practice Report: Day 3

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State continued the acclimatization period of preseason practice that takes you in the first five days leading up to the first day they can practice in full pads which is on Tuesday. Sunday morning folks were just rising as the Cowboys were bringing up the level of physical football by donning shoulder pads for the first time in the 2011 preseason camp.

Head coach Mike Gundy, back from missing Saturday's practice to watch his 9-year-old son Gunnar compete in the Championship of the USSSA Elite 32 World Series at Walt Disney's World of Sports, didn't let his players go wild with a lot of tackling and full speed contact.

The practice was what they call "thud" tempo, but that was still live with the offensive and defensive linemen. It is really football without tackling, but there was even some of that a few plays.

It was interesting with the give and take between the front seven of the defense and the offensive front. The two sides started with an inside drill that the offense kind of dominated, but then in one-on-one drills with the head coach standing over every rep, the defense kind of fared better.

A couple of players that stood out were junior college transfer defensive tackle Maurice Hayes and freshman defensive tackle James Castleman. Even though he is real light, freshman defensive end Jimmy Bean out of Denton Guyer and freshman offensive lineman Devin Davis put on a good skirmish to wrap up the one-on-one work.

On the other end of the field members of the 2011 Extreme Camp, which wrapped up on Sunday, said they saw the hit of the day as freshman wide receiver Josh Stewart, who has strung together three good practices to start off his career, blew up fellow freshman Isaac Maselera while blocking on a screen pass.

Stewart has changed numbers from No. 9, where he was a duplicate with fullback Kye Staley, to No. 5. He is the only No. 5 on the team and you might start expecting to see him play some as a true freshman, although it is still very early.

The defense seemed to maintain an advantage in the work that the offensive and defensive lines did together on pass pro. Defensive ends Jamie Blatnick and Richetti Jones are both 270-plus pounds and can bench press more than 500 pounds. In fact, both were asked about the atmosphere a few weeks ago when the two made their 500-pound lifts.

"Man, the weight room that day was crazy," Jones said. "We actually hit it a week ahead of schedule. We'd been talking about it, 'we're going to hit 500 and we're going to hit it this week.'

"Basically we got up there and next thing you know everybody was surrounding us. Jamie went first and he got it and I wasn't going to let him outdo me. I got it up there and everybody went crazy."

"It was amazing, (the) jazz level, as Coach (Rob) Glass would put it, was sky high," Blatnick explained. "That was a lot of weight. I'm not going to lie. I was sore the next couple of days in my shoulders, but it was worth it."

In the team period, which was close to 25 minutes, the run game looked good with both running backs Jeremy Smith and Joe Randle having success and the offensive line opening up some good holes for the duo to run through.

On defense, senior safety Markelle Martin continues to play well and be very physical. He is about as good as any player on defense with fitting up to make a tackle.

"I'm just being more physical, limiting the mistakes we made last year and just continuing to get better each week and striving to be the best defense we can be," Martin said.

Freshman star linebacker Lyndell Johnson also came through Sunday with a hit on receiver Nick Rockwell that drew some ooohs and aaahs.

Overall, Gundy was not sharing in the ooohs and aaahs based on what he saw in the two-hour, 20-minute practice.

"I thought today's practice was average," Gundy told Oklahoma State athletic media relations. "Our guys have to move around better. Our tempo on offense wasn't as good as it needs to be.

"Defensively, our mental approach wasn't as good as it needs to be. There is some adjustment based on putting pads on for the first time, but we should be more mature than that and get more out of practice.

"I do think that we ran the ball effectively and I think the secondary showed signs of their maturity by being in the right spot at the right time. Overall, that wasn't the type of practice we need to be successful early in our schedule so I would fully expect to get much better tomorrow," said Gundy.

The Cowboys will be back out for their second practice in helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts at 7:30 Monday morning, with stretching to begin at 8 a.m.


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