Cowboys Counting On Peterson, Lampkin

STILLWATER - Something that changed since the Oklahoma State Cowboys were on the practice field last on Saturday with a scrimmage that concluded fall camp was the weather. Mother Nature has heated things up a little and now with the practice time in the afternoon following classes during the day even inside the Sherman Smith Training Center it heats up pretty good.

The outside temperature on the new artificial turf Tuesday was in excess of 130 degrees, and even inside the turf is warm and even with the breeze, which is warm, it is a good sweat box.

Of course, coaches like that in preparing a team for the rigors of the season. While the opening game with top-ranked Florida State will be inside AT&T Stadium and a perfect 70 degrees, the second game on Sept. 6 with Missouri State kicks off at 2:30 p.m. inside Boone Pickens Stadium. It could really be hot!

Practice picked up Tuesday afternoon, and the effort seemed pretty good after two days away from the practice field. There was work in team period against the top two units on each side of the ball and there was also a final team period working against Florida State scouts.

"Well, it’s the first day with the guys that we kind of know are going to be travelling and are going to be playing in the game, so it went OK," cornerbacks coach Van Malone said. "Coaches never say that after day one – this is what we consider as really day one; really getting into Florida State. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we can live with today a little bit."

Living with it is meaning to live with the players while they adjust to the new schedule of class in the morning, training table being open for breakfast before class thanks to a new NCAA rule. The move from fall camp to school starting is a transition that has to be navigated quickly and efficiently so as to prepare well for the biggest challenge this team will face this season in the Seminoles.

"For the young guys especially, having the opportunity to get into classes and get into school and take their minds, at least earlier in the day, off football, and to be able to focus in on that and be able to transition – 'OK, class is over now it’s time to come out here and go to work and go to practice,'" Malone continued.

"We’ve had them all football for quite some time. The younger guys had the toughest adjustment with that. The older guys, they think it’s business as usual."

Malone's position group has done well as he knew he had standout and returning starter Kevin Peterson, who picked a pass in the final scrimmage on Saturday and who has helped with the transition for a lot of young players.

Across from Peterson is good friend and classmate Ashton Lampkin as the two came in together in the Class of 2012. Behind them are several players such as redshirt freshmen Darius Curry and Taylor Lewis and true freshmen Juwan Offray, Ramon Richards and Chris Hardeman.

"We have to be patient and understand that it’s a process, even as coaches," Malone said of dealing with the youth movement at corner and at several positions on defense. "We want it to happen right now, but it’s a process, especially when you have as many young guys as we have.

"We have to continue to pressure them, continue to push them to be more than they think they can be; more than they came here expecting to be. Now we have to get them ready to go full speed; 100 miles an hour, just like the older guys who’ve been there and who’ve done it already."

"The group as a whole is really young. Coming in this season we were really raw," Peterson added. "We had me at corner and Ashton coming back and Larry Stephens coming back at safety.

"We all knew the defense then we had guys like Jordan Sterns and all the other young safeties that had been here for a year but really hadn't had any game experience. Then we have the freshmen. When we came in the technique was really kind of good, but they still haven't been in a game. They need to become comfortable with their own skin and be able to make plays."

Practice continues all week leading to a mock game (walk through in the stadium in full pads with head phones and all kinds of situations being rehearsed) on Saturday.

Sunday truly starts the first day of game week with the light practice on Sunday evening.


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