Cowboys Speak From The Heart

There was a loud roar inside the Sherman Smith Training Center following the final true practice of 2015 Oklahoma State spring football. Following practices this spring head coach Mike Gundy has been selecting players to speak to the team after practice. It was an idea he came up with during his "think tank" time.

"Well, the two most dangerous times for our team are when I'm driving in a car or when I'm jogging because it gives me a chance to think," said Gundy, explaining where and when he thought of the Cowboys practice speakers bureau.

"I thought, ‘Why wouldn't we have players who understand the commitment and what it takes to win a Big 12 championship at Oklahoma State talk with the team?’ And so we've asked two players – one on offense and one on defense – every day during the spring.

"Once we got through the guys that we felt like could be somewhat informative with that type of information, then we moved to today with the two new guys. (Jordan) Burton and Victor (Salako) both spoke to the team today, and just their experience of being here for just a couple months and being with the team for 14 practices and how they felt about our football team."

The speeches have been a hit. They serve as motivational, even educational as far as teammates learning more about what the team's leaders and veterans think. They also help the speakers with a talent that is good to develop, public speaking.

"They get 60 seconds and it benefits them in two ways. It teaches them how to get up and talk in front of other people when they are staring at you and we all know that is not easy," Gundy explained. "Two, it allows the team to hear certain players talk that they may never hear talk, because some guys are quiet. Like James Washington, when he spoke to the team a couple weeks ago I'll bet you half of them had never really heard him talk because he doesn't say much.

"You could get another player that they here talk every day. I think it really benefited our football team and I think it's helped bring us together as a group, and that chemistry and the cohesiveness of the team is very important to give your team a chance to win and that's what we are trying to do."

One of the very first speakers was Cowboys senior middle linebacker and a player that will wind up being a four-year starter, Ryan Simmons. Simmons stayed with a theme that has been constant for him.

"I said it was just being a dog, really. Not the one that's always barking so much to where they're talking over their actions, but the one that leads by example," Simmons said, confirming he is a dog lover. "Dogs fight to the end. Dogs protect their family. We just want to make sure we have that mentality of being a go-getter and always fighting for something."

Gundy has said he feels as good about the attitude and chemistry of this team as he has any team in his 10-year tenure. Attitude and body language have always been preached and are a staple in the Oklahoma State program, and now so is speaking. Speaking when you have something important to say.


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