STILLWATER -- Oklahoma State was back on the practice field in the Sherman Smith Training Center on Tuesday, fresh from having two of the past three days off. There are likely 14 practice days between now and the opener on Sept. 12 against Tulsa. Today the Pokes were in helmets and shoulder pads but still made it a physical practice.
This week looks to be physical as the Cowboys will be in full pads and in the stadium on Wednesday and Friday. Lets hope all the work is for nothing. THe Big 12 had some COVID-19 news that wasn't so great on Tuesday as Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley revealed that his team has recently had some 17 positive tests and had an entire position group wiped out. Tiley said 8-9 players are back from that group of positives. Texas Tech also reported some 21 positive tests in their program.
Oklahoma State has had just two since the start of school and the most recent round produced zero positives. Iowa State is another school that is doing well with dealing with COVID-19 but that isn't the only thing they have in common with Oklahoma State.
There is no doubt that when it comes to tight ends in the Big 12 that Iowa State has captured the fascination of offensive coordinators in the league with the likes of Oklahoma native Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen. Honestly, Iowa State has kind of copied what Oklahoma State has been doing with the Cowboy backs. The Cyclones, like OSU, will move their jumbo pieces all over the formation. They've incorporated schemes that use multiple tight ends in various places and roles to create substitution and match-up issues for the defense.
Nothing is changing in Stillwater as Logan Carter told us after practice on Tuesday expect the unexpected versatility that Cowboy backs have come to be known for.
"This year, specifically, I look at it as a very versatile role," Carter answered the question about roles. "You're going to see Cowboy backs all over the field, you know, lined up in-line blocking and running routes in-line; wing running routes; in the backfield blocking, pass protection, run blocking, all of it; even split out flex running routes, catching balls. (You will see us) lined up outside every now and then blocking and running routes. We have a lot of guys and there will be three or four of us in the rotation."
Multiplicity is in the plans as well for new offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn, who said has become much more active in coaching the overall offense and players in every position group.
"Sometimes it might be even three or four of us on the field at the same time," continued Carter. "I don't think you're going to miss very many guys out there, Jelani Woods, myself, Dayton Metcalf, Braden Cassity are going to get a lot of reps out there and a lot of use."
Last season Carter, who is 6-3, 245-pounds, hd five catches for 15-yards and a touchdown to open the scoring in the upset win over Kansas State. Woods, who is 6-7, 265-pounds, had 16 receptions for 112-yards and a touchdown in the red zone at West Virginia. Metcalf had three catches for 26-yards including a catch from punter Tom Hutton on a fake. Cassity was really transitioning and learning the position in the 2019 season. So, are these four intercehangeable?
"I think for the most part, yes," he answered on how interchangeable the four veteran Cowboys backs are. "I think Jelani and I do some of the same stuff. I think Dayton makes a lot of his money (use) at the fullback position but when he needs to he can step up and run the tight end and wing sets as well. All of us are interchangeable out of the flew stuff, run blocking and running routes and stuff like that."
The group of Cowboy backs are close and they got to celebrate a big day for one of the group on Saturday. With the day off from practice, Metcalf, the senior from Hooker, Okla. took his girlfriend out to midfield on Boone Pickens Stadium and asked the big question. Nothing about football, but if she would marry him.
Little did she know they had an audience. Carter said like most things with the Cowboy backs there was plenty of support.
"I'm happy for him and shout out to Dayton and Taylor (Burmeier)," Carter said enthusiastically. "My man did the thing and asked the woman to marry him and she said yes, so I'm happy for him. I got to be there and see it all. A bunch of us watched from the top of the stadium."
Not just physical blockers and pass catchers, these Cowboy backs have a soft side too. Don't expect them to show it on Saturdays or on Wednesday when it looks like they may be scrimmaging again in preparation for the start of the season and Tulsa.