With the season opener against Mississippi State now two weeks away, preseason progress is taking on a more serious tone.
Along the offensive front, where OSU must replace two starters, line coach Joe Wickline said his group is coming along.
Yet has a way to go.
“They're continuing to get better, but we are in no means ready to call practice off or shut it down,” Wickline said. “To say we have a long way to go would be an understatement, and they know it. They're working hard. It's a grind and it's a process.
“They're working little by little and they're taking baby steps and getting better at different things. They're starting to clean some things up as a group. I'm seeing some progression that I'm happy with, but it may be week 13 before we get it all together.”
Wickline, never quick to shower his linemen with compliments, did have some good things to say about returning tackle Parker Graham, suggesting he should be in the conversation for All-Big 12 selection.
“Just based on cross film, which allows me to watch a lot of offensive linemen in the league over and over again,” Wickline said, “you're going to have a difficult time finding a bunch better than him. He's tall, he's long and he's a very serious guy about his game.
“He's got a ridiculously good bend and is quick off the ball. He's got good hands and he's graduated and getting his master's degree and he's gotten really strong. You're going to have a hard time finding anyone better.”
SEEKING THE SEC
Before arriving in Stillwater, Calvin Barnett was bound for the SEC.
The defensive tackle from Tulsa originally signed with Arkansas, but was forced to junior college instead, winding up at Navarro Community College in Texas for two years. After two years at Navarro, Barnett signed with OSU, where he's ready for his second season.
And ready, finally, for a taste of the SEC, which comes against Mississippi State.
“We're going to be excited,” Barnett said. “I've never played an SEC opponent. The SEC has a great conference, they produce great players year in and year out, so we're very excited to play in this game.”
CAN THE FRESHMEN HELP AT RB?
Cowboys coaches seem pleased with what Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland can offer at running back in the aftermath of Joe Randle's jump to the NFL.
Beyond them, however?
Don't discount the two true freshmen, Rennie Childs and Corion Webster. Running backs coach Jemal Singleton said each has done some good things in workouts.
“You look at them physically,” Singleton said, “neither of them is a small guy. It's not like they're 150-pound kids. They're both in the 180, 190 range. They have good size and they both have really good speed and have proven through camp already that they can stick their nose in the hole and be aggressive when they run.
“Both have the athletic capability to do it. It's going to be mentally, can they handle it?”