Oklahoma State already had a hole to fill on the offensive line on the first day of fall camp following the announcement earlier this week that projected starting left tackle Michael Bowie had left the program after violating team rules.
And after one practice, offensive line coach Joe Wickline isn't ready to name Bowie's replacement just yet.
Junior Parker Graham, who made two starts at left tackle last season, got the first looks at that position during Friday's practice. He was originally slotted to play right tackle after starting there the final two games of last season.
“You'll start off with him, because he's had the most experience,” Wickline said of Graham. “But there's four guys there that can play tackle. The difference is they just haven't had a lot of reps, they haven't had a lot of practices, walk-thrus, film, meetings, which you can never replace.”
Graham said he would welcome the position switch.
“It's like coming home for me,” he said. “I played left tackle in high school, as well as a little bit of right tackle. Left tackle is probably my favorite position to play.”
Other options at left tackle include Daniel Koenig, who gained 20 pounds in the offseason and ran with the first team at right tackle Friday, redshirt freshman Devin Davis, who was listed as Bowie's backup on the preseason depth chart, and junior college transfer Chris Grisbhy.
For Wickline, though, it's not about finding the best left tackle. It's about finding the best combination of five offensive linemen.
“People say it's the left tackle, it's the premiere position,” Wickline said. “I've never thought about that. I've thought about that a little bit, but the thing I think about (is) after you get your center, get your best combination of your five on the field.
“Because if you get your best left tackle, and he can't communicate to your guard what the entire scheme is, you're going to break down before it's over with. So we'll to get our best five on the field.”
GUNDY'S FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF LUNT: ‘HE LOOKS MORE PHYSICAL'
OSU coach Mike Gundy wants to wait until the Cowboys have gone through about a week of practice before really starting to judge new starting quarterback Wes Lunt.
But it's hard not to notice the 6-foot-4 freshman signal-caller, and Gundy said Friday he was particularly impressed with Lunt's bulked-up frame. Lunt added about 10 pounds of muscle during the summer, going from 211 pounds to about 220.
“I can see where he's already improved some,” Gundy said. “I had kind of said the fifth, sixth, seventh practice or so, in my mind, is the time to really start watching him. Give him a chance to get back out there and let him get in pads for three or four days.
“But you obviously can't help to watch. But I thought he looked good. He's definitely bigger … he looks more physical than he did back in April.”
INJURY UPDATE: DEVIN HEDGEPETH, DEION IMADE, JONATHAN RUSH PRACTICE
Cornerback Devin Hedgepeth, safety Deion Imade and offensive lineman Jonathan Rush, three players coming off season-ending injuries, all practiced Friday.
Hedgepeth (torn Achilles) and Rush (torn anterior cruciate ligament) were both injured against Texas A&M last September. Imade tore his ACL against Kansas State in November.
“I thought Deion moved around well, I thought Rush moved around well,” Gundy said. “I saw those guys.”
Gundy said cornerback Andrae May, who tore his ACL during spring practice, could return in 8-10 days.
Redshirt freshman receiver David Glidden also did not practice Friday. Two weeks ago, he had a pin taken out of the ankle he injured toward the end of spring ball.
GUNDY WANTS QUICKER PRACTICE PACE
Gundy called Friday's no-pads, early morning workout a “good practice, not great,” praising the team's overall mindset but stressing the pace needs to be quicker.
“Ironically, it was a lot like last season's first day,” Gundy said. “Guys were moving around and in the right spot, but our tempo has got to be better, (our) sense of urgency in drills has to be better. But it was good to be back out there.”
The slower tempo likely can be largely attributed to Lunt's inexperience at running the Cowboys' no-huddle, spread offense. Center Evan Espstein, who makes all of the offensive line calls, is also a new starter, and many of OSU's playmakers on offense have slid into new roles after the departure of receivers such as Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper.
“We went from 28 to 18,” said Gundy, referencing the ages of former quarterback Brandon Weeden and Lunt. “With a guy that hasn't had any college experience, it's different.
“But I've watched the coaches, the plays, and there's a lot of similarities in what we were last year. It just doesn't happen as fast right now.”
LUNT, RECEIVERS BOND OVER SUMMER
Rather than allow a quarterback competition to continue through the summer and fall camp, Gundy named Lunt the starter coming out of spring, considering it important to have the position set for offseason workouts.
Add receiver Josh Stewart to the list of those in agreement.
“It was very important, because we could actually focus on getting a bond with the quarterback who was going to be our quarterback in the fall,” Stewart said Friday. “It was a big deal.
“We got to bond with each other and see what each other's roles were going to be before we came into camp. And it went well. Wes is improving and we're improving and it's going to keep going from there.”