It can be so frustrating when a player doesn't do what he is supposed to off the field, especially when that player is so talented on the field. Imagine the frustration that head coach Mike Gundy has had with Jhajuan Seales.
The 6-2, 198-pound Seales is capable of big plays like he made in the Bedlam game. But on three occasions this season, two games in which he did not play and another where he barely played, Seales's playmaking was not a part of the Cowboys offense. After the Kansas game, Seales was pulled over by Stillwater police for suspicion of driving under the influence. The evidence was overwhelming and this coming almost a year after he was arrested for falling asleep in the drive-thru lane at the Stillwater Whataburger.
Oh, the life and decision that have to be made by a head coach. Some fans wanted Seales off the team, but in this case Gundy chose teaching over giving up. Seales is looking like he learned from his mistakes and in the Oklahoma game it showed on the field.
"Yes sir," Seales answered. "Knowing that you can't take anything for granted and you have to bring your A game every game and I've been practicing and getting better reps, but we have to finish. I've never been down to New Orleans, but this will be a great bowl to send the seniors off.":
Seales missed two games and was shut out on catches in a third but he ended up with 17 receptions for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Of those, five catches and 148 yards and a touchdown came in the last two games of the season. Gundy must believe that Seales is worth the teaching moments, and the head coach does know that on the field he can make the Cowboys a better team.
"It's important for us to have depth and he gives us some flexibility with James (Washington) at that position and when Jhajuan wasn't with us then for a week or so wasn't with us mentally we didn't put him on the field and it overloaded James," Gundy explained. "If he is back on the field and competing like he is now it allows us to have James play 45 to 50 plays and Jhajuan to play 25 or 30, but he has some ability of making big-time plays and over the last few weeks, including this week, his practice habits and attitude has been really good for our team."
He can make big time plays, and his average yards per catch of 18.4 is second on the team only to Washington, who is averaging 20.7 yards per reception.
Seales is looking forward to the bowl game but before that he is looking forward to a few days at home in Port Arthur, Texas for Christmas. The Cowboys will meet up in New Orleans on Dec. 26 to begin bowl week practice and activities. Before that some good home cooking from the best cook in the house.
"Food," Seales answered as his favorite thing about Christmas. "My dad because he is a better cook than my mom. He does a smoked turkey, gumbo, etouffee, you know Southern stuff."
Makes sense as Port Arthur is just a short hop in the car from New Orleans. Seales will get a head start on the NOLA cuisine and through his experiences he hopefully has a solid direction on where he is going, on and off the field, because the Cowboys can use his big play ability.
With him and Washington and the rest of the Cowboys receivers all in gear it will stretch a secondary a lot more and Ole Miss is pretty good in the secondary.