GoPokes TV: Oklahoma State Begins Sugar Bowl Preparation After Two Weeks Off

Robert Allen and Anna-Marie Ahrberg discuss Oklahoma State beginning preparations for the Allstate Sugar Bowl after taking nearly two weeks off following the final game of the regular season.

I read a post here the other day and one of our great subscribers had done an extensive statistical study comparing the Oklahoma State defense to the OU defense and how the top two teams in the Big 12 differed in performance on that side of the ball. There is no denying that the last two games of the season, and with the exception of the TCU game (even it showed a lot of yards given up) the last month of the season the Cowboys defense struggled at times.

The last two games, Baylor and OU, were losses. I was asked to give my opinion and part of it was you couldn't compare the health of the two defenses. I'm sure OU was banged up,but  how much and who I don't know. I do know that at least five Oklahoma State defensive starters in cornerback Kevin Peterson, cornerback Michael Hunter, cornerback Ashton Lampkin, linebacker Seth Jacobs, and star linebacker Jordan Burton were banged up to the point of being compromised and wearing green (no touch) jerseys in practice.

That is why the two weeks off since the end of the season before Friday's start of bowl practices preparing for Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl were so welcomed. Really welcomed, by the defense. 
"It helps a lot, helps your body to recover," Peterson said. "You get to rest it more than you did. You get treatment on your injuries. You're just not on it as much as when you had practice and you were preparing for the week. I've recovered with my body and now we're gone to grind back on it for the bowl season. We're going to ramp it right back up."

"Man, it felt real good not being on my feet constantly and running around," safety Jordan Sterns said. "You know even at practice I'm trying to go hard and pushing myself to do the best I could. It felt good sitting around the apartment and not doing anything. I had to run around for academic stuff and finals but it wasn't beating my body up. I'm thankful for the break and it was a great opportunity for everybody to get their body back."

Mike Gundy is more than happy with the response he received from players regarding the break. Now the response he wants to see is healthy players practicing hard, motivated, and ready to go make a statement in New Orleans, a town where statements have been made throughout history, in lots of areas including football. 

"It's beautiful out here and we're all done on the road recruiting (for now) so it's great to be out here," Gundy said. "They should be rested up and when we went back and reviewed it, I was with the offense four hours yesterday, there were times we were fatigued, but there were times we didn't play very well. Whenever you have time to go back and look it wasn't all fatigue. We have to do a better job of fitting ourselves in gaps. The other team made some plays and we need to play better on that side of the ball (defense)."

Gundy said he has every expectation that quarterback Mason Rudolph will be ready for the game. 

"Obviously, he is in a boot (today, but also wearing helmet and shoulder pads and participating in a limited way) but we expect him to practice (December) 21, 22, and 23. For now we'll leave him in the boot and J.W will get those reps. Everybody else is healthy."

The lone exceptions, all on the defensive side of the ball, are linebacker Ryan Simmons and fellow senior and defensive end Jimmy Bean as both has ACL reconstruction surgery on their knee. 

The Cowboys practice on Saturday morning and then take Sunday off before starting a virtual full week of practice next week. The players will get a break after practice early on Dec. 23 to go home for Christmas and then reconvene in New Orleans on Dec. 26 as a team to start onsite bowl practices for the Jan. 1 date in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with Ole Miss.

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