Cowboy Football: Kick It Off!

STILLWATER - With the second summer session ending and the conclusion of Rob Glass' summer conditioning program the Oklahoma State players are taking advantage of a week-long break before the 105 players on the report list arrive back in Stillwater on Wednesday for the start of camp.

The first practice will be on Thursday, July 31, as the Cowboys prepare for the season opener in Seattle against Washington State on Aug. 30, the game to be televised nationally at 2:30 (CDT) on Fox Sports Net. The coaches are in full preparation for the start of camp and can't wait.

"Heck yeah, time is here," said defensive coordinator Tim Beckman.

There is no doubt that the defense will need to be improved for the Cowboys to show the improvement that everyone involved in and around the program is expecting. Beckman is happy with what he has heard from the summer program.

"I mean just through the rumor mill and talking to Coach Glass, and I can't say enough about Rob Glass, in my opinion he is the best that I have ever been around and he does a great job of getting our players ready," said Beckman. "We're excited and know there are a lot of new faces out there and are anxious to see how they perform."

Co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer is also pumped up about his first go round at Oklahoma State directing the offense. Among the last things Brewer did before the entire staff re-convened to get ready for camp was attending the Mannings Quarterback Camp in Louisiana. Brewer had Cowboys quarterback Zac Robinson with him.

"I got Zac there in time where he was able to get a private workout in (with the Mannings), and I think he learned a lot from it," said Brewer. "I know he seemed very excited about it afterward, and yes, he did hang out a lot with Eli Manning down there."

Zac Robinson is a cool customer, as exhibited by the way he handles himself on the field, but he was very impressed and ready to soak up the experience in Louisiana like a sponge. Robinson spent a lot of his time hanging out with current Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford. It was a little like a quarterback convention.

"They had a time where all those college quarterbacks sat in there and fired questions and picked their (Eli and Peyton Manning) brains," added Brewer. "I know they were all enthusiastic about it and it was about fitting the mold of a professional quarterback, not just reading defenses and how to make certain throws but also how to lead and influence your teammates. I think the whole experience was great for Zac."

Now Robinson gets back to his offensive teammates this week and Brewer is looking forward to seeing it all come together again in camp.

"We have a lot of things and people to be excited about on offense," Brewer said with excitement in his voice. "I think Zac is the major guy there, but all the receivers with Dez (Bryant) and with what I'm hearing about Artrell (Woods) being virtually all the way back.

"Brandon Pettigrew is a force and then in the backfield I've heard great things about what Kendall (Hunter) has done this summer and Beau Johnson and Keith Tosten being ready. Coach Wick has got all of those offensive linemen. How can you not be excited about getting to work with all of that talent on offense?"

The answer most Cowboy fans are waiting for is who will call the plays this season. Head coach Mike Gundy has said that decision may not come until 20 days into camp. The option is that Gundy calls plays or it is Brewer that is the other option. The bonus is that tight ends coach and passing coordinator Doug Meacham will be in the press box with Brewer and could be the coach that handles checks, which are also communicated by signals out to the offense. Our guess is Brewer will end up calling plays with Meacham doing the checks.

Defense is the more critical side of the ball for the Cowboys and building the foundation of the defense in camp is more about competition than the X's and O's, according to Beckman.

"Robert, I don't think it is critical (fuondation) but it is going to be fun because there is going to be a lot of competition going on, something we didn't have a lot of last year," explained Beckman. "There are going to be players out there, the new faces that we brought in, the new competition that will let us see who is going to be out there to make us a better defense."

The key on the defensive line with the making of a two-deep is back to competition.

"It goes back to competition because there are people at those positions, outside and inside, that are going to be competing to be starters. That is the bottom line. Everything is in pencil and it can change daily and it will change daily. The guys that are playing consistent and competing hard daily are the guys that are going to be playing," Beckman said.

Beckman moved to coaching the linebackers with the hiring of coaches Glenn Spencer and Jason Jones. Beckman is putting the pressure on the position he is coaching.

"They are fitting the mold of what I asked them to be this summer," said Beckman, who can expect returning starter Patrick Lavine, Orie Lemon, Justin Gent, Donald Booker, and star (hybrid) linebacker Andre Sexton to lead the way. "They are doing things right and I think that is the position that we must get better at for us to be consistently good on defense. That is my job and it is their job to get better."

Oh yes, it is time for camp to begin.

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