Lewis Loves Getting Back In His Routine

Paul Lewis is the most veteran of the Oklahoma State offensive linemen. I remember all the way back to the summer of 2011 when he committed to the Cowboys. At that time, Joe DeForest was recruiting the Houston area and Lewis, from powerhouse Galena Park North Shore, was listed by recruiting web sites as a defensive tackle prospect and an offensive guard or center by the others.

I remember having to make a lot of phone calls to figure out what he was projected to be with the Cowboys. Lewis was an offensive lineman and after a redshirt season and one start as a freshman in the 2013 season he started every game last season at center, except the Baylor game.

However, it seemed like he was losing his grip on the center position as the season wore on. With the emergence of talented freshman Brad Lundblade at center, future playing time was in question for Lewis.

This fall camp that has changed and as the Cowboys get back on the field following the two-day break for the start of classes Lewis is getting a big chance at guard. Did he think that would happen, especially moving into the starting five?

"Not really have a chance (to start) but I knew he (offensive line coach Greg Adkins) might put me at guard during the spring," Lewis said. "He asked me if I could play guard and I said, 'Yes sir, I can.' He sprinkled me in there with the ones a few series back in spring practice. Coming into fall camp I had no clue this would happen. I was as surprised as anybody."

Maybe not as surprised as Jesse Robinson as the big 6-6, 310-pound Robinson thought he had sewed up the right guard position late last season and into the spring. Then in the spring Adkins did what most new offensive line coaches do as he moved around his players looking at some combinations and trying to find the right one.

"I feel like Coach (Adkins) has always said the best five would play and everything like that and it just solidifies us," Lewis explained. "I feel like moving me there to guard solidifies that edge the offensive line has. I mean, we had that edge, but I think it is even stronger now.

"We have Zach Crabtree at right tackle and he has been doing great. Brad Lundblade, at center, has been doing great. Mike Wilson and Vic Salako have been doing well from spring on. Putting me in there is an extra piece I guess."

An extra piece? That is really probably more of a description the quarterback situation with Mason Rudolph as the unquestioned starter, but J.W. Walsh as that extra piece to the offensive puzzle.

"It does and they are two different people," Lewis said. "Basically, J.W. is a playmaker that can do it with his arm or his legs. Mason is going to throw it but he will move around if he has to in order to buy time. I'll just say I love them both."

As for the offensive line leading into the season, just the other day head coach Mike Gundy said the improvement up front on offense wasn't night to day but was night to sun up.

"I feel like we've done good, but with that first team defensive line it has been a lot of 50-50, I guess," Lewis said. "That defense is good and they play with their hair on fire and they are blitzing a lot. We answer back and it's kind of give and take."

The final answer on the offensive line will have to wait until the season is underway and the offense and the line see outside competition because, honestly, the defense knows the plays, knows the audibles, and has a real advantage in practice.

"It is more difficult when the defense knows our plays and they know how to attack us because they see this offense all year round," Lewis admitted. "We do have to almost work twice as hard to make plays."

That should be good practice for Sept. 3 at Central Michigan.

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