The loudest ovation in the Oklahoma State locker room following the 38-31 come-from-behind win over Iowa State was for the Special Spectators that came into the dressing room to high five the players and sing the fight song following the win. Special Spectators are a group of youngsters fighting cancer and their families that are hosted at the game by OSU and Coaches vs. Cancer. It is a neat experience for all involved.
The second loudest ovation came when head coach Mike Gundy asked strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass about the Sunday schedule and he announced there was no lift on Sunday. Glass has rarely, if ever, not had a strength workout on Sundays. Gundy then outlined the schedule for this week which is very light with just practices on Tuesday and Wednesday and no contact. Players will get Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday off before convening for a normal Sunday evening practice.
"They need some time and we're really going to give them the week off," Gundy said. "We're not going to put any stress on their shoulders. We're not going to have any contact and try to get them back. We've got a long run from here (to finish the season). It is week to week and every week is a battle. I just got a text from someone, I guess Navy beat Houston, huh? Going on the road you have to be prepared."
A major reason for the light week during the Cowboys open week is the extensive injury list. This team has been going hard since the start of fall camp and then through the first half of the season with major games like Pittsburgh, Baylor, and Texas. Central Michigan was obviously a stresser, and Iowa State proves there are no easy weeks in the Big 12 anymore. Even players that have not had any listed of obvious injury are sore and worn down some physically.
"This was a tough week for us," Gundy said. "We had five guys on defense that didn't practice, really until Wednesday, and a couple of others didn't practice until Thursday. Larry (Williams) went down and (Brad) Lundblade really didn't practice until Thursday. James (Washington) really didn't even practice Thursday. (Mason) Rudolph didn't do anything Tuesday. He was out there but he didn't even throw a pass. Wednesday he was very average and didn't throw the ball very good.
"Every night I went to bed and I worried about it. You know, coach (Pat) Jones always said, 'guys have to practice full speed by Wednesday or they don't play very good,' and that's exactly what happened."
As for that injury list. Here goes:
Marcell Ateman, WR - Foot injury that was surgically repaired back in late July and he has been re-examined with discussion ongoing whether he wants to prepare and play possibly as soon as the Kansas game or red shirt and play a full senior season in 2017.
Jordan Brailford, DE - He has been put in a cast for now with the same lower leg issue that plagued him as a freshman. He redshirted as a freshman, so the hope is he can get healthy enough to play and help before the season ends.
Chris Carson, RB - He had his wrist repaired and was out in practice for non-contact work last week. Gundy said the expectation is that he will be available to play against Kansas.
Justice Hill, RB - He was hit hard on the head on the play in the fourth quarter in which he fumbled against Iowa State. He was held out as a precaution and I don't believe he is going to be in the concussion protocol.
Brad Lundblade, OC - Lundblade played through an ankle injury that he suffered against Texas. His quickness compromised, it made it even more difficult going against the very quick Iowa State nose tackle Demond Tucker. He is fine and should be near 100 percent for Kansas.
Derrick Moncrief, S - Moncrief played well against Iowa State despite playing with a wrist injury. He also missed part of the third quarter with a muscle cramp issue.
Jarrell Owens, DE - He played throughout the Iowa State game and is okay after missing much of the Texas game.
Jordan Sterns, S - He missed a lot of practice during the week and while suiting up, did not play, against Iowa State with a painful hip pointer. He is expected back for the Kansas game in two weeks.
James Washington, WR - Obviously, he was able to play despite the head blow against Texas and he played well. The open week will do him good like all the players that have played a heavy number of snaps.
Larry Williams, OG - Suffered an ankle injury in practice on Wednesday and he is out indefinitely. Likely a month or so before he will be re-evaluated.
Chad Whitener, LB - He has had a wrist injury since the first game of the season, but rests it and rehabs during the week and then plays all out on Saturdays. The open week will help but he has shown his toughness in not missing a game.