Don't Forget About the Offensive Line, Dickey Will Have Them Ready
STILLWATER -- With all the attention on the Gundy t-shirt and Hubbard tweet the subject of football has been on hold for the past couple of weeks. An update on what is going on would include that an internal investigation of the players demand for change within the program is virtually complete. The head coach, coaching staff, and players have held some very important meetings. The entire 110 players on COVID-19 workout roster, the number allowed by the NCAA has reported and with one exception is clear of coronavirus protocols. Those 109 players are all involved in the voluntary workouts that have been ongoing since Wednesday, June 17. Oklahoma State was two days delayed in starting those workouts.
The coaching staff is doing some vacation time, but still working some as position coaches and coordinators are continuing to meet daily via Zoom with the players. Mike Gundy is also continuing to meet with some of the team leaders.
One of the coaches that running back Chuba Hubbard chose to be in the video that he and teammates as well as other sports student-athletes made on social injustice and the Black Lives Matter campaign was offensive line coach Charlie Dickey. Dickey's wife Lisa is African-American and the couple have been married for 30-years as of a couple of weeks ago. That has made him a unique voice with a unique perspective during this time.
"I thank God for the opportunity to talk and work with these young people," Dickey said. "It's all about building relationships and treating people with respect."
Simple advice for such a complex issue and time, but it fits. I think it has been a key for Dickey fitting so well with this program and the players.
A few weeks ago, one of the last football subject stories that I wrote was about how I was excited about the defensive line as much as any aspect of this Cowboys squad for this season. In one year the defensive line has gone from very young and mostly inexperienced to talented, much more experienced and deep.
Dickey's offensive line is not to be undervalued. In just his second season as the Cowboys offensive line coach he has two returning starters at offensive tackle. Teven Jenkins is getting plenty of All-Big 12 mention and also plenty of attention from the NFL scouts as he starts for the fourth consecutive season at right tackle. The Topeka, Kan. native was recruited by Dickey heavily when Dickey was at Kansas State.
Dylan Galloway is healthy and will be back at the left tackle position. He too has garnered some All-Big 12 preseason attention. Both the tackles are bigger by a few pounds.
Still young Bryce Bray returns at right guard and it appears that another possible All-Big 12 candidate in West Virginia grad transfer Josh Sills with two-years of eligibility remaining will slide in at left guard. Sills can also play center, but it looks like former walk-on Ry Schneider will start at center. He started at center twice last season and three times at left guard, so he also is like a returning starter.
"We're just trying to get better everyday. That's our goal," Dickey said simply. "This profession and that position (offensive line) you will get humbled pretty quick if you get too big-headed."
Dickey is all about technique and having it locked down, knowing what you need to do to get the job done. He is also a coach that likes to have players cross-trained. He likes his guards to play center and his tackles to play some guard. Everybody has a feel for what is going on up and down the offensive line.
He has done a good job of bringing along the young offensive linemen recruited in the past two classes and now he has four freshmen coming in this summer, actually Eli Russ was there for the one week of spring practice and the off season leading up to it. Dickey is known for his ability to develop young linemen and in some cases really quick.
The veteran coach agreed with me that his players did last season and are expecting this season to gain satisfaction out of Chuba Hubbard's accomplishments and the progress of Spence Sanders and what he can do throwing darts downfield to the receivers.
"I think the whole group sees that. I think the team sees that," Dickey said. "I know the line feels that way. I'm excited about this group and I feel good about getting this back going again."
The coaches get their chance to work with the players on the field in some NFL OTA type situations coming up on Monday, July 13. That work will include non contact work and walk thru type activities.