OSU football: Cowboys' left guard Preston Wilson is learning at a faster pace
STILLWATER — When preseason camp began at Oklahoma State, Preston Wilson was going through the paces of practice like any other third-teamer.
“Just hanging out at practice, drinking some Gatorade, looking forward to what lunch was gonna be,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said.
Wilson, of course, was taking his work more seriously than that, but Gundy’s joke holds a grain of truth.
Third-team offensive linemen are getting just a fraction of a starter’s workload. But since late October, Wilson has been in the starting lineup at left guard, getting all the work he could want.
Be ready for anything, offensive line coach Charlie Dickey told his linemen at the start of the season.
“Everybody’s gotta be ready,” Wilson said. “And when things happen, just have that ‘next man up’ mentality. Get your butt in there and be ready to play. You gotta know your stuff.”
The injuries and attrition that have hit the Cowboy offensive line this season have been well documented. The group went from the next man up, to the next man, and the next man, and the next man.
“The guys that are playing for us right now are the third wave,” Gundy said. “We have eight guys that are not available to us that were available to us in June. We, being the coaching staff, have to be really patient as we develop those guys.”
- Related to this story
- Article: OSU football at Baylor: Broadcast info, betting lines, matchup breakdown
- Article: OSU football: Decimated by injuries, Cowboys' secondary couldn't hold up at TCU
- Article: OSU football: Stillwater's Luke McEndoo commits to Cowboys
- Article: OSU football: Analyzing the Cowboys' 2021 recruiting class a week ahead of National Signing Day
- Article: OSU football: Projecting the Cowboys' bowl possibilities
- Article: OSU football: The Six Shooter pregame thoughts on the Cowboys at Baylor
- Article: OSU football at Baylor: Kickoff moved to 2:30 p.m. on ESPN
- Article: OSU football at Baylor: Kickoff time, betting odds, matchup breakdown
- Article: OSU football: Can the Cowboy defense find its way at Baylor?
- Article: OSU football: Mike Gundy, Larry Fedora meet again in Waco, 24 years after working on Baylor staff
- Article: Carlson: OSU football has mind-boggling offense — but not in a good way
- Article: OSU football: Chuba Hubbard has 'chosen to go to the NFL'
- Video: OSU Football: Cowboys fall to TCU
- Video: OSU Football: Cowboys falls to TCU
The Cowboys head to Baylor for the regular-season finale, set for 6 p.m. Saturday in Waco, Texas. OSU will start two redshirt freshmen — Wilson included — and a redshirt sophomore who were not expected to be starters when the season began. Junior Josh Sills began the year at left guard, then moved to left tackle and now will start his third game at right tackle.
“It’s been awesome to learn from Josh,” Wilson said. “He took me under his wing and said, ‘Hey, follow me. I’ve done this before, let me show you how it’s done.’”
Wilson, who is from Argyle, Texas, will celebrate his 20th birthday on Friday with a trip to his home state.
But he’s not thinking much about cake right now, as the Cowboys prepare to face a defense that held OU to less than half its rushing average last Saturday. The Sooners managed just 76 yards on the ground.
OSU’s offense went south against TCU when it could no longer run the ball effectively in the second half, making that challenge front and center for the Cowboy blockers.
“Everybody’s holding each other accountable and holding each other to a higher standard,” Wilson said. “Don’t be satisfied with being average. Be great. Strive to be the best.
“With TCU, I think we did a lot of great things, but we came up a little short, so we do have a few improvements to make that Coach Dickey’s getting corrected. So we’ll definitely have them fixed and we’ll be able to move on from here.”
Scott Wright covers OSU athletics, especially football. You can send your story ideas to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ScottWrightOK. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.