Cowboys Have Busy Week Of Practice

Friday afternoon was just a tune up as Oklahoma State's staff put the Cowboys through an hour and a half workout in the Sherman Smith Indoor Training Center. It is just the beginning of the preparation for the 78th annual Cotton Bowl Classic on Jan. 3 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. A majority of this week's work will involve preparation for an 11-2 Missouri team that had a strong season in the SEC.

"Finals are over and they are back to football 100 percent now," Gundy said after the first practice. "We'll give them the weekend off and then get back at it next week and work out for 7 or 8 days before we let them off for Christmas, and then we'll meet them down in Dallas and get to bowl prep."

The players did have the weekend off but there was expectation that they would take some of the time to get by the football offices and start acquainting themselves with Missouri on video. Gundy and his staff used the weekend for a lot of that as well. Surely, some on Sunday before getting formal this evening with the annual Senior Football Banquet.

The Cowboys beat Missouri 45-24 just a couple of seasons ago and while there are a number of players including quarterback James Franklin, running back Henry Josey and wide receiver L'Damian Washington that played on that team there are plenty of new names and faces in the Tigers two deep.

"They have good players and it is interesting and there are quite a bit of similarities to where they are from when we played them several years ago," Gundy answered. "I don't know what it's been, three or four years or so. They are very similar, athletic players that run to the ball really well and make plays. They have always had several linemen and safeties, linebackers here and there with guys that go on to play in the NFL.

"On offense they are tall and rangy at the wideout position," Gundy continued. "The quarterback is playing well and the running backs are going good. They are a lot like we remember them in the Big 12."

Now there are plenty of ties between the Cowboys and Missouri, but one really solid local tie is Oklahoma State All-Big 12 fullback Kye Staley, who played at Guthrie and will end up seeing, maybe even bumping heads, with another former Blue Jay in current Tigers starting linebacker Kentrell Brothers.

"When we found out we were playing Missouri in the bowl game, I was thinking, hmmm and shaking my head," Staley reacted. "He actually got a hold of me and said, 'hey, we're playing you in a bowl game and I'm pretty excited.' I told him I don't know why you're so excited because I'm coming to knock your head off. We've been good friends all through Guthrie and kept in touch and it will be fun to play each other."

That's just one example of a connection. There are many of them as the Cowboys prepare with lots of work on Missouri and some opportunity to check out the younger players that have been redshirting or toiling on scout teams this fall. Bowl workouts are a great combination of preparation for the game and for the spring and young players as they develop into important roles for the future.

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