Cowboys Continue Preparing For Fall Camp

STILLWATER - The heat has turned it up a notch and you could practically see steam coming off the turf at Boone Pickens Stadium at 5:30 p.m. Thursday as the Oklahoma State Cowboys began warming up and then stretching to get into their voluntary summer "metabolics" workout. I've never been quite sure why these workouts have drawn the tag "metabolic," so I decided to check the definition.

met·a·bol·ic (mt-blk)
adj. Of, relating to, or resulting from metabolism.
[Greek metabolikos, changeable, from metabol, change; see metabolism.]

These workouts are the ones the players do on their own, with the strength and conditioning staff and the sports medicine staff monitoring for safety. Usually assistant athletic director of speed, strength, and conditioning Rob Glass is there watching as he was Thursday night.

The players lead these workouts in position groups, and then offense and defense, and eventually offense versus defense. It is obvious that there are more players out there now with the second wave of freshmen and newcomers having reported.

It is also clear to see that the groups look better at what they are doing as the repition of previous workouts this summer add to the proficiency of what they are doing.

Below are some observations and notes from eyeballing "metabolics" for the third time this summer.

Quarterbacks: Brandon Weeden is in really good shape and said he had a "great time' at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibadoux, La. Weeden said he got to spend a lot of time with all of the Mannings - Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper. "It was one of the most fun things that I have every done," said Weeden, who said he roomed with former Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon.

Johnny Deaton continues to progress and is looking bigger and stronger physically. Weeden, Deaton, and Clint Chelf did most of the throwing in the 7-on-7 and 11-vs-11 work. Weeden connected on the prettiest play of the day when he found Justin Blackmon on a down-out-down for a touchdown.

Running Backs: Kendall Hunter is looking really good and is one of the hardest workers on the team. Hunter is still very quiet but a major leader by example. He made a lot of plays, both running and catching the ball, in the workout. Hunter is also catching the ball over the middle some.

Travis Miller had several highlights in the workout and is looking good physically. I did not see Jeremy Smith but have seen him and been impressed in the two earlier workouts that I saw this summer. Joseph Randle is a heckuva an athlete and looks better and more comfortable each time you see him. The heavy work will get done by Bryant Ward and David Paulsen.

Wide Receivers: We already said that Balckmon looked good and made plays. The award winner for summer work and changing their physique may go to Tracy Moore. He has dropped weight and is absolutely cut. My guess is he may have dropped 20 pounds and he looks like he moves faster and he is getting open on his routes and making plays. His ball skills were unquestioned as a freshman but now he is faster and in better condition.

Josh Cooper continues to look good and is in great condition. I also liked my first impression of Chris Dinkins, who is 6-2 and 220 pounds. He has some moves for a bigger guy and showed them on the edge on a play in 7-on-7. He also has good ball skills. Charlie Moore made some nice plays Thursday evening too. He is trimmed down a little too.

Offensive Line: It's tough to evaluate except they seem to be in good shape. The young linemen are fun to watch as Daniel Koenig, Eli Dickerson, Jacob Jenkins and Javius Townsend all look good for the future. Davidell Collins could be joining them for the future as the 6-7, 270-pound Collins remind some of Russell Okung when he arrived as a freshman.

Speaking of Okung, he was in the end zone working on his new technique on his stance and kick slide as he prepares for the Seattle Seahawks training camp. Okung said he has a place in Seattle and is closing on it and will move in soon. He is excited and should be. Oklahoma State could use all the Russell Okung types that are out there. Unfortunately, there aren't as many as you would like there to be.

Defensive Line: They look better each time I see them. and senior defensive tackle Shane Jarka is convinced that they will have enough to get the job done. I was more impressed with DeJuan Davis as it is obvious he gets in better shape each day and is working hard.

The first four defensive linemen -- tackles Jarka and Chris Donaldson and defensive ends Jamie Blatnick and Ugo Chinasa -- really look the part. The second unit is looking better. The depth at defensive end is reall solid. Cooper Bassett is going to be a major factor on this team.

Of the new players, Arlington Bowie freshman Diamonte Wheeler is about 6-1 and 280 pounds. He has some shaping up to do but he looks strong in the lower body and that will serve him well at defensive tackle.

Linebackers: Orie Lemon is a great leader and the linebackers look really good as a group working out. At the star, James Thomas is coaching a lot, Joe Mitchell looks so good and seems really comfortable, and Shaun Lewis is neither looking like or playing like a freshman. The star may be stacked with players even if they aren't experienced. There is experience at the other two spots and look out for Caleb Lavey, who physically has come a long way from the spring. He too looks better.

Secondary: The safeties are stout as the foursome of Markelle Martin, Johnny Thomas, Victor Johnso, and Daytawion Lowe may be the best four safeties at OSU at one time in a while. Look out for youngster Zachary Craig as he has come in in great shape, is strong, and has gone through every drill without falling out. That is something very hard for a late reporting newcomer to do. In metabolics he looked very comfortable running around in the secondary looking to make plays.

Brodrick Brown is leading the corners and it is a younger group with the departure of junior college transfer Malcolm Murray. Also, new transfer from Arkansas David Gordon was not participating Thursday night. He is ineligible for the upcoming season and is coming off shoulder surgery.

Devin Hedgepeth is a young player who I think will contribute a lot and the team will need to count on this season. Justin Gilbert is a good looking athlete and is as fast as advertised. He and several other younger corners are getting their feet wet and learning in these workouts.

The team has the Friday usual stadium steps in the morning and then two more weeks of these metabolic workouts, along with the strength and the speed and conditioning workouts with Rob Glass and his staff. The average player will have three workouts a day, one in the weight room, one on the track or field, and then the metabolic workouts. Most are four days a week and some are three a week.

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