Cowboys Pleased With Indoor Practice Facility

The door on the west side of the building read "Enter Here," and the Oklahoma State Cowboys don't have to be told twice to walk through the double doors into their new indoor football home. The now completed Sherman Smith Training Center is one big cavernous building with motorized doors that raise up to allow air flow through the facility.

There are blowers toward the top that further promote air flow but most of all there is lots of space and a big new OSU brand stamped new style astroturf playing field.

It's a great place to play football.

"It is unbelievable! You walk in here and your head immediately goes up because of all the space and how much space we have to work with," said sophomore quarterback J.W. Walsh, who has seen plenty of indoor facilities in the land of high school football riches in Texas.

"You know, even the kickers can come in here and kick the ball and not worry about it being knocked down. It is a great facility for us to come in and work when there is bad weather outside," said Walsh.

The plan was for the Sherman Smith Training Center to be done earlier but some financial stumbling blocks delayed the project. The project even changed in plans slightly, but the finished product is very much appreciated by some of those that had to wait.

"I feel like I've been here a decade, but it is good to see it and it's great," voiced fullback Kye Staley, who is closer than you think on his decade comment as Staley was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA due to special circumstances including catastrophic injury.

"It's one of those things that I thought we were going to have my freshman or sophomore year and it just never came through," said senior quarterback Clint Chelf. "We have it now and the facilities here are great and this just matches in with it.

"It's amazing for all the young guys to have this for the next four years, and I'm fortunate to get to be in the first group to go through here. Really grateful for all the facilities we have and all the people that have donated money so we can have them," added Chelf.

"I can remember when I was coming that they had broke ground on it and it would be done before I got here," said starting offensive guard Brandon Webb. "I thought, that's cool. Now I'm a senior and it is done, so at least it was done while I was here."

Two features that really make the Sherman Smith Center better than others of its type is the space. It is huge and there is plenty of air space.

The Cowgirls softball team has already used it and pop flies are possible. The space on the field level beyond the out-of-bounds both on the sidelines and in the end zone is really a plus as there's 28 feet of space from the out-of-bounds to the wall on one side and 31 feet on the other meaning safety for players.

"There is plenty of room on the sidelines and in the back of the end zone," observed Walsh, who like the other Cowboys has had two metabolic (player led) practices in the building. "The safety in here is definitely taken care of and you have plenty of space to have people on the sidelines and not get in the way."

The other feature is the new turf, which is bouncy and has much more cushion to it. That helps deliver more energy back to the player and the surface is a faster surface than the Football Pro turf in Boone Pickens Stadium. This is the same turf that will be used on the adjacent outdoor practice field to go along with the two natural grass practice fields.

OSU Vice President of Athletics and Athletics Director Mike Holder also said after the 2013 season that the same turf will be installed inside the stadium.

"It is definitely different," Webb added. "We're not used to this one and are more used to the one in the stadium. You can get stuck some in this, it has a little more grip, so you have to get used to it and get a feel for it before you get going."

The facility will likely be used in several different veins, according to head coach Mike Gundy. He said it will be used when they have had a succession of hot days in order to give the players a break from the extreme heat. It also will keep thunderstorms from delaying or canceling practices.

It will be used during frigid, snowy, or icy conditions during the bowl prep season or in the spring allowing the practice calendar to not have to be altered. It will come in handy for recruiting too. The place is pretty cool according to its new inhabitants.

"I guess I can say I am very fortunate to still be here enjoying my teammates and I look forward to coming in here in August when it is too hot outside and just get it done in here," said Kye Staley. "It's a great facility."

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