Cowboys Football: First Day Observations

Oklahoma State began the 2012 football season Friday morning with its first workout. All practices are closed but there are a few days when photographers are allowed to shoot the first 15 minutes of practice, and on those days we can provide observations. There's not much to report but on the first day with all the freshmen and newcomers we are able to provide some information.

Let's start with the topic that everybody is asking about -- Wes Lunt. Lunt is now at 220 pounds. We know that because his mom confirmed it well before camp commenced. He is looking much more confident after a summer of directing drills with the coaches not out there.

His early throwing was sharp with plenty of zip and the accuracy that was displayed in the spring. He is not Brandon Weeden, but he is as confident and talented a freshman quarterback as you would expect to see on a first day of practice.

Give kudos to J.W. Walsh as Walsh was throwing the ball well on the first day. It is obvious he has improved over the summer. Walsh is also confident, and the quarterbacks as a group got along well over the summer and that carried over into practice on Friday.

Physically, overall, Rob Glass and his staff certainly did a good job as there are no slobs out there. They all look pretty good. I can't wait to watch Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith show what they can do. Both look great and I know there is competition between the two very talented runners. That should be fall camp highlight material and will make both and the offense better.

Now For The Freshmen
Head coach Mike Gundy talked favorably about the young receivers, and he should. C.J. Curry is wearing number 8 and he looks the part as does number 81 Jhajuan Seales.

Seales, like Curry, is listed at 6-2, 180 pounds. Actually, Curry is listed at 185 pounds. They both are more mature than many freshmen receivers have looked in the past. Team observers are really high on Seales. I have to admit wearing number 81 kind of causes you to give him extra credit.

Brandon Sheperd is number 7 and is also a special looking player at 6-1, 195 pounds. One more I really like is inside receiver Blake Webb, who is wearing number 85 and is listed at 5-11, 190.

Freshman offensive linemen Michael Wilson (6-6, 285) and junior college signee Chris Grisbhy (6-5, 315) are both big men. They look like you want offensive linemen to look coming in.

Keep an eye on cornerback Ashton Lampkin as he seems to be close to ready to get out there based on looks and summer observations.

Offensive Line Solutions
With Michael Bowie not there, Parker Graham moved over from right tackle to left tackle. The 6-7, 315-pound Graham has experience and started the OU game and the Fiesta Bowl. Daniel Koenig, who is now 6-6, 310, moved in at right tackle.

Offensive line coach Joe Wickline talked about the process of working the offensive line now without Bowie.

"The thing I think about is that after you get your center then you get your best combination of five on the field," said Wickline. "If you just get your best left tackle then if he can't communicate to your guard then your system breaks down.

"We are going to get our best five on the field and then at that point we'll find our third guard, third tackle, and a backup center and get them all as many reps as we can. Daniel Koenig has gained 20 pounds and he has experience but is still somewhat of an unknown. Then you have Devin Davis too."

It certainly looks that moving Graham over from right to left tackle will be a part of it. "Making a switch from right to left is not a big deal and Koenig can come in and do a good job," said Graham after practice. "We can add a little more rotation and it will all be all right."

Lowest Percentage of Body Fat Yet
Nigel Nicholas couldn't be happier as the senior from Rossville, Ga., is back home. Not in Georgia but on the field at defensive end instead of defensive tackle where he has been needed for the last two seasons. As a result, Nicholas has shed about 15 pounds and is lighter, quicker and ready to chase quarterbacks.

"I'm trying to be a little bit more fit at defensive end this year," said Nicholas. "Body fat test I was actually 15.9 percent and that is the first time ever that I've been under 20 percent body fat."

Puke and Rally
It's the old rallying cry from the movie Varsity Blues and one of the main characters in Billy Bob. Billy Bob did his "puke and rally" while drinking beer at a high school party. It is much more noble to get it done on the football field and veteran offensive guard Jonathan Rush wasted no time on Friday.

Rush missed some summer school to go to Utah and attend former teammate Alex Cate's wedding on a mountain top near Salt Lake City. That meant before Friday's practice Rush had some extra conditioning to do as a penalty for missing class. Rush lost his breakfast fulfilling his team duty but rallied to have a good practice.

"Definitely," answered Graham when asked about it. "He was a little rusty, we all were, but he ended coming on and having a good day."

The Wisdom of Pat (Jones)
Former OSU head coach Pat Jones was a featured speaker for the Extreme Camp. The camp is for Oklahoma State fans and boosters that want an up-close look at the program. They are able to attend practice the first three days of fall camp, attend team and position meetings, eat at the training table, and enjoy evening social sessions with the Cowboys coaching staff.

Mike Gundy and camp director Johnny Barr enlisted the former Cowboys head coach to entertain the campers. Jones spoke to the group of more than 100 in the team meeting room. He showed the campers highlights of some of his best teams, including the first one in 1984 that finished in the Gator Bowl with a win over South Carolina, the 1987 Sun Bowl team that defeated West Virginia and quarterback Major Harris, and the 1988 Barry Sanders Heisman Trophy season.

Jones also showed them an all-time OSU team that he worked on this summer with yours truly. On defense, Leslie O'Neal, James "Duck" White, and Kevin Williams made for three of four defensive linemen being from the state of Arkansas. They were joined by Jason Gildon of Altus, Okla. Bob Fenimore was a corner as he is the all-time interception leader at Oklahoma State. The offense included a backfield of quarterback Brandon Weeden and running backs Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders.

Jones then implored the campers to always remember that there was a time before all the nice facilities when people like them would drive in trucks to donate building materials and their time and efforts to get projects done, and that Oklahoma State football was built on those kind of people.

He also said the program was built on players like noseguard Steve Heinzler of Joplin, Mo., who played a full season as the starter with two broken wrists. He said that players fought and scratched to represent and win for the program, and encouraged them to not forget those people and players. He also said don't ever be satisfied because when you fall into it then the success goes away.

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