OSU donned full pads for the first time on Tuesday, although the Cowboys have been hitting for days in shoulder pads.
“This was our third day of full thud,” said linebacker Shaun Lewis. “We don't use our legs that much, so having (padded) pants isn't that big of a deal.”
Still, as the practices continue to intensify, coach Mike Gundy said, the coming week in the heat will be telling for his team.
“We had a good day,” Gundy said. “We've been fortunate, our players have stayed healthy. We've just got to continue to push through. These next seven or eight days are really crucial in our preparation for the first game.”
And while the Cowboys may have already been hitting, full pads do bring a different level of intensity.
“Of course it makes those drills more intense,” said defensive tackle Calvin Barnett. “We're just natural competitors — that's what we do. When you get the pads on, you get to go full speed, everything is fast and you don't hold back.”
Gundy said that the coming days will be an especially important test for newcomers bidding to earn a role.
“You really have to be in it for four or five days,” Gundy said. “They need to get fatigued. We can see who can push through it and still get quality work done when they're tired. These next seven days is when their bodies really go through a transition, with the heat and the pads. They've hit each other. They're sore.
“We have to have good quality practices, because we're only two weeks away from starting to back down and trim practice to get ready to play in a game.”
LAUDING LINEBACKER DEPTH
As a four-year starter, Lewis has played alongside a lot of different linebackers at OSU.
And he said he likes what he sees in this latest group of second-level defenders.
“We have a bunch of guys in the linebacker unit who are making plays on a consistent basis,” Lewis said. “Joe Mitchell. Demarcus Sherod. Kris Catlin. Ryan Simmons. Man, those guys are having a good fall camp. I'm excited about their potential.”
CELEBRATING LIKE IT'S 1988
OSU is having some fun in recognizing the 25th anniversary of Barry Sanders' 1988 Heisman Trophy season.
The athletic department is rolling out the vintage radio broadcasts from that season, with the 1988 season opener against Miami (Ohio) currently available at www.okstate.com/greatestseason, with Bob Barry handling the play-by-play duties and Tom Dirato providing color commentary.
Of course, Sanders' special season started with a bang — a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on his first touch. By the time he'd rolled through the schedule, Sanders owned 34 NCAA records, including the single-season rushing record of 2,628 yards. He also led the nation with 3,250 all-purpose yards and 234 points.