Oklahoma State Sugar Bowl Notebook: Dec. 20

Oklahoma State gets back to practice Sunday after having a day off Saturday. The Cowboys will practice Monday, take the day off Tuesday and have an early Wednesday practice before the players are released to return home for Christmas.

Back to Practice; Rudolph Very Close
After a day off Saturday the Oklahoma State Cowboys were back at practice on Sunday afternoon in the Sherman Smith Training Center and on the practice field adjacent to the Smith Center. The Cowboys were on the field for right around two hours in full pads. This is the third to last practice for the Pokes before they will be sent home on Wednesday for some holiday time at home with family and friends.

The players will meet up in New Orleans on Saturday to resume preparations for the Jan.1 Sugar Bowl game with Ole Miss.

Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy seemed to be in a good mood as he continues his work in getting the special teams ready for the game. Gundy has taken over for Robby Discher, who left for a full-time coaching position that includes coordinating special teams with the University of Toledo.

"I trust my punt team to go down there and stop the returner and I trust the head coach," punter Zach Sinor said. "He's been around us a lot and I know he talks to coach Discher, so I know we'll be fine."

"He (Sinor) has been really good and he may be responsible for two of our wins," Gundy bragged on his punter that he is now coaching. "If you look back at what he did against West Virginia and TCU and where their starting position was, he was good. He is improving in the other areas. His target punting has been very good this year. I like working with him and working with all of the specialists. They do a good job of working themselves."

Oklahoma State starting quarterback Mason Rudolph continues to suit up and practice with full participation in drills and then simulated reps with the offense, but Gundy expects Monday's practice to be a completely full go for Rudolph.

"He's doing fine and I'm not really concerned with him getting into the practice routine until Monday (tomorrow)," Gundy said. "I know he has been practicing and has been in the throwing drills. I'm most concerned that he is in the team concept tomorrow. I know he has looked better each and every day."

The Cowboys will practice on Monday, take Tuesday off, and then practice early Wednesday morning before letting the players head home for Christmas.

All Kinds of Great Rewards
You can got to the Oklahoma State website or the Oklahoma State Athletics You Tube channel and see a feature with Orange Power Studios Allison Gappa and Oklahoma State defensive end Trace Clark working their way through the Sugar Bowl gift suite. It's a great way to get the gifting for players at bowl games accomplished. Representatives of the bowl game come in and set up an area (gift suite) with all the available gifts displayed. The players have points (value) they work with and can choose gifts that add up to that value.

In this case, each player had seven points and could get gifts such as appliances for 1-3 points, Beats wireless head buds for 3 points, video game set-ups, all the way up to gifts that cost all seven points and those included a leather recliner, a mountain bike, and a 40-inch HDTV smart television.

Instead of getting the gifts at the bowl game those gifts will be sent or delivered back to Stillwater or to each player's home.

The players also receive team issued rewards in the way of clothing with new pair of Nike shoes, shower shoes, hoodies, t-shirts, warm-up, and Nike jacket.

No one asks me but I think they deserve everything they get. They worked hard and gave themselves, the coaches and staff, and the Oklahoma State fans an unforgettable season.

Sugar Bowl Week Packed with Activites
The OSU team will converge on New Orleans before noon Saturday, Dec. 26. They will practice shortly after arriving and while there is no planned bowl activity for the players and travel party on Saturdy after arrival there will be plenty to do during the week. Now the emphasis is on preparing and winning the game with the Rebels, but this is a reward for the season.

"We're not allowing to do anything other than be engaged (for the game)," Gundy explained. "I like their attitude. We don't have issues and they really buy in. There are always concerns at every bowl and we have to trust the players can take care of themselves. We educate them and we have always started that process and Mack Butler (director of football operations), Rod Johnson (assistant director of football operations), officer Queen (OSU police) and our staff do a great job or preparing our staff for every bowl trip."

There is some free time allowed during the week and the nightly curfew starts off fairly late and then slims down during the week.

On Sunday, the team and travel party will visit the World War II museum, which has an unbelievable reputation and has drawn great reviews. They will also have dinner at that activity. Monday, the players and travel party will go to Rock-N-Roll Bowl, a major bowling and arcade type of attraction. 

Tuesday afternoon there is a hospital visit scheduled and then the team will dine together at the famous Brennan's Steakhouse. Wednesday is the Allstate Sugar Bowl Fan Fest and players will have time to attend that on their own. Thursday it gets really tightened down on the day before the game and as Oklahoma State has done before major bowl games they will move the travel squad to an undisclosed location to get some peace and quiet before the 7:40 kickoff Friday night.

Weeden Performance Noted
On the side of the Cowboys Sunday practice there were some cell phones buzzing or creating some attention. During the third quarter of their game with the Indianapolis Colts, the Houston Texans trailed 10-6 before inserting former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden.

Weeden, the former first-round NFL Draft pick of the Cleveland Browns and then a member of the Dallas Cowboys, has not had many great memories in the NFL. Earlier this season he was released by the Cowboys and despite having favorable statistics he was thrown under the bus by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Well, Jones' team is 4-10 and Weeden still has the best completion percentage this season for Dallas. Today, with the Texans he completed 11-of-18 passing for 105cyards and the game-winning touchdown in a 16-10 win over the Colts.

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