Sugar Bowl: Monday Is Tuesday In New Orleans

Oklahoma State defensive standouts like Emmanuel Ogbah, Kevin Peterson and Jordan Sterns meet with the media while the Cowboys continue preparation for Saturday's Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss.

NEW ORLEANS – Walking into practice on Monday afternoon at Tulane's new Yulman Stadium the first thing I heard was the crack of shoulder pads on shoulder pads. That is a good sound on a normal Tuesday practice back at home in Stillwater.

It is the sound of focus, of intent, and it shows that while this trip is a reward and the players admit the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, and just being together in a busy city like New Orleans with extraordinary food, shopping, entertainment, and flat out people watching is a blast, they are still dividing time between work and reward.

"Coach (Mike) Gundy does a great job with the players of addressing when it is time to focus, meet, watch video, and practice and then when it is time for fun," defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said Monday morning at the organized Sugar Bowl news conference that was really an opportunity to talk one-on-one with the Cowboy defenders and the Ole Miss offensive standouts including wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, who actually admitted thanks to uncle and former Cowboy All-American linebacker Ricky Young that he almost went to OSU, and Chad Kelly. 

The Oklahoma State players actually seemed much looser and relaxed speaking with the media. They have developed a comfort zone in New Orleans.

"I love the city," senior cornerback Kevin Peterson said. "I think we're all real comfortable here. I went out the first night with some guys. We went to Bubba Gump's Shrimp. I got the mac and cheese and shrimp and it was huge but I polished it off. They had all kinds of stuff from the movie, which is cool because I've probably seen it 10 times. Everything is fun."

"Yah, we went shopping, and walked all over the French Quarter," safety Jordan Sterns said while also claiming to have gone to eat with Peterson. "It's everything I expected it to be here."

As for the work, look at your watch for the next few days and if it is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. then you can safely assume the Cowboys are doing football something or on their way back from practice. The Tulane facility is small, fairly similar to the University of Tulsa, maybe a little smaller.

Motivation is strong for the Cowboys. There is the sting of the last two losses, there is a lack of respect that seems to show up at times for the Cowboys and the Big 12, and there is the departure of some strong leaders in the senior class and one fourth-year junior in Emmanuel Ogbah. The All-American defensive end hasn't made it definite with the public but he's heading to the NFL. He leaves behind some young defensive linemen that will always feel his influence.

"I've learned a lot from him, things I'll take away forever on the football field and off," defensive tackle and former Hurricane Katrina and NOLA refugee Vincent Taylor said. "I want to always have his phone number so I can call and ask his advice."

"Man, that's pretty special he said that," said Ogbah, the Big 12's sack and tackles for loss leader. "You like to think you can have that kind of influence on teammates. I want us to win this game for all of us, guys like Vincent."

As for the usual stuff, Mason Rudolph looks good. The Cowboys quarterbacks are sharing snaps just like at home. Heck, the wind was even blowing pretty good just like in Oklahoma but minus the freezing temperatures, sleet and snow from this week.

As they say down here in the French Quarter, "Laissezmles Bon teams roulez," which translates to "let the good times roll."

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