Fall Camp Day #8: More Practice with Offensive Line Adjustments and Defensive Prowess

Robert Allen

STILLWATER -- Someday Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is going to have his team come out and practice in full pads, but Thursday was not the day. The Cowboys were back in helmets and shoulder pads coming off a Wednesday practice that Gundy and other coaching staff members felt was the best practice of camp thus far. 

Gundy felt a lot of it had to do with the decision by the Big 12 Board of Directors on Tuesday night to the hopes and promise of a football season alive. The release of the schedule early Wednesday provides target as Oklahoma State players know they are set to line up Sept. 12 with Tulsa and then open the Big 12 season two weeks later in a modified conference schedule that has West Virginia coming to Boone Pickens Stadium for the start. 

A former West Virginia standout on the offense line will be an even more critical addition for the Cowboys heading into the season. Former Mountaineer and second-team All-Big 12 lineman in the 2018 season, Josh Sills, is settling in at left guard and is joined on that side by another All-Big 12 honoree in first-team choice Teven Jenkins at left tackle. 

Offensive line has become a concern, especially this week with red-shirt sophomore starter Bryce Bray today and earlier this week classmate Jacob Farrell going into the transfer portal. Reports are the pair had no choice as they violated team rules or team code of conduct and were told they were off the team. Both players posted messages on Twitter thanking everybody including teammates and coaches and pledged they were always going to be Cowboys or hold Oklahoma State in a special place with all the memories. 

Bray practiced the first several days according to pictures and video released by Oklahoma State, but nothing has been released since Monday's practice. 

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Hunter Woodard has been working hard to break into the O-State offensive line. Bruce Waterfield - Oklahoma State University Athletics

Besides Jenkins and Sills on the left side, offensive line coach Charlie Dickey told Pokes Report that both Hunters, Hunter Woodard at guard and Hunter Anthony at tackle, have shown versatility and are in position to compete for playing time, even a starting slot. Tyrese Williams has been one of the most improved offensive linemen and is getting lots of reps at center.

You can see on the cover picture for this story that red-shirt freshman tackle Cole Birmingham (6-8, 308) is getting reps with the first-team protecting Spencer Sanders. Dickey also said walk-on Jake Springfield from Flower Mound, Texas is having a strong camp. Freshman Eli Russ is ahead of normal physical and mental aptitude for a first-year player. 

Thursday's practice continued with more work on the punting unit during special teams period and then the team went through a two hour and 20 minute well rounded practice that was physical at times. 

"I'm pleased with what we're doing," defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. "The cornerbacks are really playing well. Holmes is a good player that has played well everyday and Jarrick Barnard-Converse has played well moving to the position."

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Cornerback Christian Holmes, the transfer from Missouri, has played good and been consistent.Bruce Waterfield - Oklahoma State University Athletics

As many Oklahoma State fans know, if your corners can really hold up in the Big 12 then that will give your defense lots of opportunities to take chances and create adverse situations for the opposing offense. 

Oklahoma State will be back on the practice field again on Friday and on Saturday. I would guess there's a chance of seeing full pads on one or maybe both of those days. The opener with Tulsa is still 30 days away, but after Friday and Saturday, Gundy is expected to give the team Sunday off to prepare for the start of classes. Gundy has adopted the same tradition his head coach Pat Jones had when Gundy was a player, and that is to give the team the first day of classes off from practice. 

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