Cowboys Dress For Saturday Night Rehearsal

STILLWATER – It all started after position meetings Saturday afternoon with a little walk over to The Atherton Hotel at the Student Union. The Cowboys then walk back down Hester Street to the west end of Boone Pickens Stadium and proceeded to walk down the tunnel to the other end with the destination being their locker room. On a warm and muggy afternoon about 50 Cowboy fans practiced their part of "The Walk" in greeting the Cowboys.

New Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has watched his team practice just about every play in the playbook so far in the month of August, and this afternoon and evening he practiced game night with them. The dress rehearsal - complete with game uniforms, headset communication to the press box and a script including every conceivable scenario that may happen next Saturday when the Cowboys kick off for real against Division I-AA 18th-ranked Montana State - was a Pat Jones staple when he was head coach and Gundy was first his quarterback and later an assistant coach.

After "The Walk" the Cowboys took the field for warm ups at about the same time they will next Saturday. They went through the pre-game routine and then kicked off a 106-play walk through that was augmented by piped in crowd noise through the stadium speakers.

"It's always good to have a mock game like that, especially with so many young players," said Gundy after the rehearsal concluded about 8:15 p.m. "Those new players don't know where to stretch in pre-game and don't know where you go when you break stretch. I think you eliminate a lot of screaming, coaches yelling, and people getting upset on game day by just showing them what to do. They all got to put the uniforms on. I thought it went well."

Gundy had been tipped that a few fans wanted to practice their role in "The Walk" and it was nice to see a few faces. The approximately 50 fans from today will be replaced by thousands next Saturday.

"There were a few people who showed up out there," Gundy confirmed. "We walked. We went through everything. Taped. It was just like a game. It was really nice. We've come a long way with that. Our players look forward to it. And I know as a former player, it's important to me and means a lot. I would expect it to be packed on Saturday night. It was really neat that people showed up today. There were guys who showed up with trucks, opened the car doors and played the fight song, stuff like that. It was pretty neat."

After the walk through members of the media had many of the same questions that have been aimed at the new head coach after virtually every practice and scrimmage. Of course, they were seeking the latest word on the quarterback competition between Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid.

"We'll probably just play it out and let a guy go out there and play," said Gundy and then revealed the depth chart could reflect a pecking order. "I don't know. It'll probably list Donovan one and Bobby two. That's my guess."

The last two weeks Gundy has shown as much concern over the establishment of the young running backs and their development. Gundy said that is where he really wished he had a solid depth chart.

"If I had anything, I wish I could sit here and say this running back is the starter and we're going to pump it to him 25 times a game," added Gundy in evaluating the trio of Mike Hamilton, Calvin Roberts, and Julius Crosslin. "That's just my background. That's the only thing I'd change right now. I hope two of them show us Saturday that we can rely on them. They're young. We want them to play hard and not worry about making mistakes, because they're going to make mistakes. When you haven't ever played college football, you're going to make a mistake. But we don't want them to worry that way, play that way. Michael Hamilton has had great scrimmages. Calvin Roberts two scrimmages ago was a man. And yesterday, Julius Crosslin was the man."

The Cowboys will have Sunday off while the coaches work on last additions and changes to the game plan for the opener with Montana State. Gundy has said that game week practices will be two hours and under, and he insinuated that he would cut back some on the contact. It is a different approach than his predecessor, Les Miles, but it was Miles' long practices and tendency to hit right up until game day that Gundy and some players believe caused OSU to underachieve in some games, especially late in the year. There won't be any shortage of work, just a focus to get the work done in a timely fashion.

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