The next three days the Cowboys and the soccer Cowgirls, who are playing Notre Dame on Friday for a trip to the NCAA soccer Final Four, will work in mostly privacy preparing for huge contests.
The day at football started off early in the morning as some players, including wide receiver Justin Blackmon, made their way to the trainning room for medical treatments. This time of year you would be surprised as a lot of players have nagging injuries. However, the Cowboys are as healthy as they have been all season, except at the very start of the season.
The rest of the other Cowboys players were in early for lifts with the strength and conditioning staff. The lifting in season is for maintenance, to keep the strength up and minimize losses in that area, and is not designed to increase strength.
While the players begin the physical work of the week upstairs, the staff is meeting before practice, breaking up into offense and defense to continue the game planning.
Scouting reports have been compiled and are ready for players to begin studying and practice plans are coming together with coaches scripting the looks they want to see from scout teams as well as what each side of the ball wants to see from the other in the good on good work the Cowboys do in the regular season.
Head coach Mike Gundy believes in running a period where the top two offenses go against the top two defenses to keep each other sharp and prepare for a high tempo. That work is very important this week as OU will try to tempo a lot on offense.
The players report early in the afternoon for meetings, beginning with special teams and moving to offense and defense and position groups. Then it is time for the first of the two longer, harder practices. The Cowboys will go for about two hours on Tuesday.
"Tuesday is first-and-10, second-and-long, (and) run-pass mix," said defensive coordinator Bill Young of what the defense is working on Tuesdays.
The offense is working on its overall game plan with a script of plays that offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and the staff will want to see against various defensive looks that Oklahoma uses. Tuesday is a little bit of trial and error in looking at different plays before the plan is narrowed down and the polish starts on Wednesday.
For those curious, Blackmon was limited and did little in practice as he was in jersey and shorts. Later, at his weekly coaches radio call-in show, head coach Mike Gundy explained that they would go light on Blackmon for a couple of days and let the ankle rest and then see where they are later in the week.
The general consensus is Blackmon will be okay and ready for action on Saturday. He is soaking up the game plan in practice. After practice he soaks up a hearty meal at the training table along wih all of his teammates. Everybody enjoys training table on Tuesday's, including walkons, who will eat with the team through the holidays.
The Gundy call-in show originates from Buffalo Wild Wings in Stillwater and among the onlookers is a group of young men that Gundy has befriended on his jogs during the noon hour when he passes by their house. Gundy invited them to practice on Tuesday and they took him up on it. The five African-American men seemed to enjoy the practice and kept the day going by attending Gundy's radio show where he paused to go hang out at their table for a while.
Cowboys play-by-play voice Dave Hunziker notices how relaxed Gundy is and takes that as a very positive sign toward Saturday. Of course, Gundy has been more relaxed and confident since his team finished up with early conference wins at home against Texas A&M and on the road at Lubbock against Texas Tech.
The coaching staff is still at the west end zone long after practice as they review the practice tape to see how the offense and the defense looked against OU's looks. Some changes may need to be made, and the work in the football offices goes well into the night.