OSU's Parker Graham gets first shot at left tackle job
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Saturday, August 04, 2012
8/04/12 at 4:48 AM
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OSU football practice report.
STILLWATER - According to Oklahoma State's 2012 football media guide, Parker Graham is a business major. Depending on how an offensive line shuffle plays out, Graham could find himself in the business of being Wes Lunt's "bodyguard."
Lunt is OSU's rookie quarterback. Among the responsibilities of a left tackle is to protect a right-handed quarterback's blind side from pass rushers. Because Graham (a junior who started five games last season) has legit game experience, he was first in line for left tackle auditions when OSU began preseason drills Friday morning.
Michael Bowie was listed atop the depth chart at left tackle before preseason camp began, but coach Mike Gundy announced two days before the first practice that Bowie had been dismissed from the program for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Before Bowie's exit, Graham was listed atop the depth chart at right tackle.
"Obviously we lost a guy, but a lot of us are interchangeable," Graham said. "We have a lot of guys who can play a lot of positions, so it's me sliding into left tackle and (Daniel) Koenig moving up (at right tackle). He's going to do great for us."
So, problem solved? There's still an entire preseason to evaluate options. Offensive line coach Joe Wickline indicated it could be a few games into the season before he settles on which players he wants to deploy.
Is Wickline's priority to find the five best linemen? Or does he want to find the best left tackle?
He answered by saying his first goal in line-building is always to find a center (where Evan Epstein is the heir apparent to Grant Garner).
"And once you document and declare that this guy can get the ball snapped and he can get everybody ID'd and he can get the blocking scheme done, then at that point let's work inside out and then obviously (choose) your tackles and guards," Wickline said,
Ultimately, Wickline wants to get the five best linemen on the field and identify next-in-line replacements - a third guard, a third tackle and a second center.
After practice No. 1, Wickline name-dropped four tackles: Parker, Koenig, redshirt freshman Devin Davis and junior college transfer Chris Grisbhy. Said Wickline in regard to Davis, "I'm going to tell you right now he's got a chance to be pretty good one day. It's just a matter of when he gets it."
Wickline said the coaching staff will figure out who the two best tackles are. "Left and right don't matter," he said. "Then let's find out who the next two are and let them all battle it out all through the year."
Left and right don't matter? Wickline cross-trains OSU blockers.
"He moves everybody everywhere," Graham said, indicating that he played left and right tackle last season and played some guard and center in the spring. "By the time we get to the first game, he will have moved us all over the place. You can't ever get comfortable with it. You have just got to be ready to play wherever he wants you to play."
Graham acknowledged that playing left tackle is "a pretty big deal." But, he added, "I kind of look at it like I've got to come in with the same mindset. I've just got to beat the guy who is in front of me on every single play."
OSU season opener
Vs. Savannah State 6 p.m. Sept. 1
TV: none Radio: KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: Graham making it his business to protect QB
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
OSU's offensive lineman Parker Graham (right) celebrates with Jeremy Smith after a 2010 touchdown at Kansas. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World file