Cotton Bowl: Cowboys Notebook

Oklahoma State made the move for practice to AT&T Stadium on Tuesday and head coach Mike Gundy surveyed the near two hour practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. The workout was a general polishing against scouts of the game plan for the 78th Annual AT&T Cotton Bowl against Missouri on Friday.

One of Gundy's biggest concerns is getting the Cowboys, most of which did not play in the 2010 AT&T Cotton Bowl against Mississippi, past looking up at the huge video board in the stadium. Oklahoma State last played here in 2010, just months after the stadium opened. The team attended a function here Saturday and the Dallas Cowboys game Sunday.

"But it wasn't the same as them getting out here and getting on the football field," Gundy said. "Most of them are star struck, but we had a good practice."

The Cowboys will get in one more practice in the stadium on Wednesday and then will go through a walk-thru late Thursday afternoon after the sun has gone down and is not causing glare through the windows on the ends of the stadium. The Cowboys will get a better feel for the night lighting conditions in the stadium during that exercise.

Fedora Visits Practice
Former OSU offensive coordinator and current North Carolina Tar Heels head football coach Larry Fedora was at practice Tuesday with his son Dillon. Dillon is still a wide receiver at Southern Miss, where his dad previously coached, for former OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

Fedora guided the Tar Heels to a win last weekend in the Belk Bowl as they defeated Cincinnati 39-17.

"It felt pretty good up there after the game," Fedora said as he greeted players and coaches in the Oklahoma State dressing room and also spoke with longtime friend Mike Gundy. "It felt a lot better than starting out 1-5 earlier this season."

Fedora said he and his family are in the Dallas area for a friend's wedding and they won't be around long enough to be at the game.

"I wanted to be able to take a few days and relax a little after the bowl game," added Fedora as he watched almost all of practice from the sidelines.

Missouri Gets In Second to Last Day of Work
The Missouri Tigers have been working in the stadium in Arlington since they arrived. They went Tuesday for just short of two hours in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. The Tigers will have a short workout on Wednesday and then nothing on Thursday in advance of the game on Friday.

"It was good work (today)," head coach Gary Pinkel said. "I think the players are starting to feel it. This was a Wednesday for us. The players are feeling it and just feeling the game is coming. I thought we had a good practice. There are a lot of distractions anytime you're at a bowl game but I think we're doing a pretty good of separating and coming out here and focusing."

In an interesting comparison, Missouri has been a fast starting team that has jumped out on teams in the first half. Oklahoma State has done a good job in the first half, but the Cowboys have also been especially strong in the third quarter all season.

"Every coach in America wants to start fast. We talk about it. We mention it to our players but we don't harp on it," Pinkel added. "What happens is if you keep saying ‘let's start fast, let's start fast' and have to punt the ball the first two times, you're almost deflating the team.

"We emphasize it but not to the point where if things don't go well. You still have to be able to come back. We all want to start that way but we also recognize that sometimes the way the other team is playing, you might not. Then, you just have to keep battling."

Cowboys Make Hospital Visit After Practice
The Oklahoma State Cowboys, along with Gundy, spent part of their New Year's Eve spreading 2014 wishes, visiting the children of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

"This is a great experience for our team," said Gundy. "Our team is very excited about participating in this year's AT&T Cotton Bowl, but to be here with these children is a great opportunity for us and we will get more out of this visit than anyone else."

The Cowboys arrived with gifts (Oklahoma State Cowboy football helmet stickers) for the children, as they received multiple high fives from them and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children caps with orange and black lettering. The AT&T Cotton Bowl provided goodie bags for each child in attendance that was filled with this year's 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic t-shirt and poster, while Snapple/Dr Pepper brought in a holiday spread of cookies and drinks.

"What a special day this is for us and our patients," said CEO and President of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children Robert Walker. "We see each of these players as role models and want to wish them our best."

Quarterback Clint Chelf went around the room signing posters, spreading lots of positivity to the children. Like playing on the field, he knows how to fight hard and stay determined just like each child does there. His message to them was to keep pushing forward and remain positive.

"A lot of our players have faced adversity," said Chelf. "You have to keep pushing forward and remain humble and keep pushing through it. Family is very important and they are people you can rely on, and that is what helps and makes things special."

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children was established in 1921 when a group of Texas Masons approached Dallas' first orthopedic surgeon Dr. W. B. Carrell about caring for children with polio regardless of the family's ability to pay. Known as the world leader in the treatment of pediatric orthopedic conditions, they strive to improve the care of children worldwide through innovative research and teaching programs, training physicians from around the world.


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