Cowboys Hoping Bye Week Pays Off

As Homecoming and Saturday's game approaches, TCU Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson said Monday that he is unhappy. He believes the Big 12 schedule isn't exactly fair as his team will face first Oklahoma State this Saturday and then Texas the next week, and both teams will have had a bye week, in other words, an extra week to prepare for TCU.

I would contend that while those three practices last week were important that the two days off on Friday and Saturday before the Cowboys returned to practice on Sunday evening were every bit as important.

Senior offensive tackle Parker Graham, a three-year starter, showed up Sunday sporting a new look. Call it the "Jake Look" after center Jake Jenkins as Graham is now the third member of the offensive line to shave his head. Shaving his head wasn't the only activity Graham was involved in this weekend.

"Whenever you get those bye weeks it is fun to sit back and enjoy watching college football instead of playing it that week," said Graham. "We watched all the conference games and saw what was going on and really enjoyed our time off."

Some players got together in groups to travel somewhere, while some went home for some of mom's cooking. Girlfriends were popular companions on the weekend, and yes, studying up on future opponents.

"There are a lot of teams with one loss and we kind of control our own destiny right now," added Graham. "We are going to go out each week and play as hard as we can and see what happens."

The weekend was important because of the work that needs to be done. Oklahoma State will see TCU, visit Iowa State, visit Texas Tech and then play Kansas. With wins in those four games the Cowboys will enter the meat of their schedule.

With four wins, the Cowboys would be 8-1 as they prepare to play at Texas, entertain Baylor at Boone Pickens Stadium, take a week off for Thanksgiving, and then hosts Oklahoma. That kind of schedule requires rest.

"This whole weekend was all about resting and staying off your feet," said running back Jeremy Smith, a senior who knows you take the break when you get it. "Especially the way we prepared last week, we had a lot of one-on-ones to keep us in that game flow, which I thought was the best idea. It doesn't allow us to take a break. This weekend I thought was the best because we didn't have school Friday with the break."

Smith, who has caught plenty of constructive criticism over the running game in the OSU offense, said he did take a few minutes Sunday night after practice to catch up with his former backfield partner Joseph Randle. Randle scored his first NFL touchdown against Washington.

"I actually talked to him last night and I congratulated him on the touchdown that he had," said Smith. "He's knows, he knows how to work and he is a real competitor. He competes each and every day and it doesn't matter where he is and who is competing with, he is going to compete every day.

"It's not that hard and you can make your mind up to compete and make yourself better. When he was here we were going at it every day."

Now Smith has worked to transfer that competitive flow into Desmond Roland and Rennie Childs, the running backs he competes with in practice.

As for competition, safety Daytawion Lowe found some over the weekend as he attended the showdown high school game between his alma mater, top-ranked 5A squad Carl Albert and Guthrie.

"Yes I did," replied Lowe as he saw his Titans upset by the rival Bluejays. "Oh man, it was a close one and I know we can get it fixed."

That means he is hearing about it from Guthrie alum and super senior fullback Kye Staley. "I'm already hearing it," confirmed Lowe. "We're going to see them again, I promise we're going to see them again."

Maybe they'll meet again on Thanksgiving weekend, which will be the next time both Lowe and Staley have a break.

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