STILLWATER — Rob Glass, Oklahoma State's assistant athletic director for speed, strength and conditioning, gave The Oklahoman's Gina Mizell total access to the Cowboys' offseason workout program last Tuesday.
5:45 a.m.: It's dark. It's early. But Glass is ready to go downstairs in the Boone Pickens Stadium weight room.
6 a.m.: Glass and his eight-man team — headlined by top assistants Joel Tudman and Gary Calcagno — go over a detailed map laying out where all the morning's conditioning drills will be set up on the field.
Once Glass is has given each coach instructions, the graduate assistants start darting through the weight room, grabbing cones and balls to set up outside. Tudman and Calcagno then begin meticulously sorting each player's individual file into position groups.
Part 1: On-field conditioning
6:28 a.m.: About 90 players wearing identical black shirts and orange shorts have gathered in the west end zone. Among them are quarterback Wes Lunt, running back Jeremy Smith, receiver Tracy Moore and cornerbacks Justin Gilbert and Brodrick Brown. Glass brings them into a huddle, which is broken with players chanting “BCS.”
6:30 a.m.: Following a series of warm-ups and stretches, the players break into groups at the five stations.
I first go to the Run Rocket, a resistance machine that connects a retractable cable to the player's back. It builds power and acceleration as players try to explode off the line and sprint 20 yards.
At midfield, Tudman is running an agility drill that purposely puts the players in an awkward position — such as on their stomach or sitting down facing the opposite direction — to teach their body how to recover quickly. Glass says this helps in game situations, where players often get knocked off-balance.
7:01 a.m.: At another station, where players squat and toss a weighted ball underhand to a teammate standing about 10 yards away, Calcagno screams, “I don't hear enough grunting!” The next toss yields a loud one. “It's like Serena Williams,” center Evan Epstein says with a laugh.
And at the agility station next in the end zone next to Run Rocket, speedy wide receiver Isaiah Anderson is blazing through the drill. After only the wall stops his forward momentum on a sprint, he jokes to right tackle Parker Graham, “You had me on the first two steps.”
7:24 a.m.: The conditioning portion wraps with three sets of “three trippers,” or a sprint from one sideline to the other three times. Skill players are expected to finish in 28 seconds or less.
Glass then gathers the group at midfield and reminds them to eat properly and rest. “The hardest camp you've ever been through,” is coming in two weeks, he says.