Grinding Through The Final Days

STILLWATER - The Oklahoma State Cowboys were back on the grass practice fields for a nearly three hour practice on Thursday evening. It was a tough practice not just because of the hot and sticky conditions but also for the squad after learning earlier in the day that wide receiver Anthony Parks would not be with them.

The team learned that Parks, who had earned a starting receiver role in the spring after transferring from Butler (Kan.) Community College, had to give up the game after learning he has just one kidney which makes it life threatening to participate in contact sports.

"We just want to make a one time announcement," said an obviously saddened Mike Gundy. "We found out he has just one kidney today. He is no longer able to participate in a contact sport. It is really a tough situation for the young man."

(To read the complete story on Anthony Parks click here: Parks' Career Ends Because of Only One Kidney)

The team pushed through the workout that Gundy thought was pretty good.

"It was a good practice today. We had a long day, a lot of work, we had a lot of contact this afternoon," said Gundy. "The offense and defense both made some good plays this afternoon. We get a little bit better each day. We have to push through these next three days and then we're back in school and kind of in a normal routine. The guys are working hard and we're getting a lot out of practice right now."

Practices are closed, so it is tough to determine just what is being done but Gundy did talk about what he hopes to see and accomplish in the team's final major scrimmage on Saturday.

"Probably not as much hitting, not as many reps," explained Gundy. "The first scrimmage we ended up with 120 to 130 (plays) when you count special teams. I'd like to keep it to 80 to 90, which means maybe 110 (plays) if we get out there going and like it. Try to settle in a little more with who is going to be in the ones and twos in the offensive line, same at linebacker. We're starting to find out where we are in the secondary, put those guys together and let them play a little bit."

The offensive line and linebacker competition, and the competition between Bruce Redden and Jason Ricks at kicker, are really the only unsettled questions.

"I think we're getting closer," Gundy said of the offensive line. "We are working Kurt Seifriend there at guard some, but he (offensive line coach Joe Wickline) still rotates three guys in there."

Sophomore center David Washington said he is looking forward to getting the lineup nailed down and feels that whoever the guards are that the offensive line will be solid, even better. He knows he is better because of the game experience.

"I just have to get used to them and get accustomed to how they fit up with our schemes and stuff," said Washington. "It is making me better to know that I can play with different people and be diverse in that area. We are starting to grow up a little bit and the guards are starting to pick things up better than usual. It'll be a great time when everything settles down and we go with what we have."

One guy impacted by the offensive line that is just happy to be out with the big guys - and joining fellow running backs Julius Crosslin, Dantrell Savage, Calvin Roberts and Keith Toston - is returning starting running back Mike Hamilton. Hamilton, who rushed for a freshman record 961 yards last season, has been out with a hamstring injury.

"It's been frustrating seeing those guys out there doing a good job," said Hamilton, who has been back at practice for a couple of days. "I've been watching film and think if I could have had that play what I could have done with it and stuff. It's been a real hard time, but now that I'm back in there and finding a groove."

One theory is missing the pounding on his legs during camp that maybe the in shape Hamilton will have more left in the tank later in the season.

"I hope that is how it works out for me," said Hamilton. "Those guys have been running for over a week and I've just been over there with Coach (Rob) Glass getting in better shape. Hopefully, that's how it works."

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