Cowboys Seem Ready and Motivated

SAN ANTONIO – It's a good sign when the first people you see upon arrival are smiling and happy. They mention that the food – turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, and banana pudding pie with caramel sauce – that they ate Saturday night for the Christmas celebration at Knibbe Ranch was fantastic.

When the players say they have had fun and they are really enjoying each other, and that they are mixing work and fun with healthy doses of both, then that is a good sign. That is what I was greeted with upon arrival in San Antonio on Sunday afternoon.

After a brief stop at the hotel it was off to practice where the team went through a brisk under two-hour practice with a number of high school players, parents, and coaches in the stands.

My good friend and high school teammate, Castroville (Medina Valley) head coach and athletic director Brian Emerson liked what he saw. He has one of his former players, Patrick Hoog (offensive guard) out there. Brian told me he liked the team's demeanor at practice and he liked what he heard from the defensive players at their Sunday aftternoon news conference.

"We really know with the maturity on this team how to practice and get the work done and still have fun," said safety Markelle Martin. "You know we really don't do much but hang around and have fun together."

That sounds more like boring than maturity. This team has had no problems with curfew. They have enjoyed Sea World, the Knibbe Ranch, and Sunday night they will check out former OSU basketball player James Anderson as the Spurs host the Washington Wizards at the Spurs game.

The team is having fun, you can tell. They are motivated with the desire for that record-setting 11th win being the major reason. You don't care about the reason, you just want the motivation to be there.

"When you lose to the University of Oklahoma and then the bowl game that is like a double whammy," said defensive coordinator Bill Young. "We felt that last year and we don't want to experience that again."

No, and neither do Oklahoma State fans that will begin flooding into San Antonio early this week.

It is a group effort by the Cowboys. Mike Gundy, Young, and Co. are ready to coach, and yes, Dana Holgorsen has both feet in and motivated as he said he does not want to leave Stillwater and check out of the Residence Inn on a loss. This game will serve as his calling card for his new team.

Again, you do not care where the motivation comes from just that it is there. The players are having fun and ready and willing and the fans come in and blow up the Alamo Dome orange. It all adds up to a win over Arizona and an 11-2 season where back in August a bowl game and trip wasn't even in the cards according to the so called experts.

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