Cowboy Football Practice: Day 15

STILLWATER - Head coach Mike Gundy knew very well when he saw a reporter at the gate before practice there was a question waiting to be asked. But before the reporter could even get the words out of his mouth, the Oklahoma State coach was ahead of the game. "I'm not answering any questions about Emmanuel Moody," Gundy said as he sprinted toward the practice field.

Of course, Gundy also knows that NCAA rules prohibit him from talking about the USC running back that has announced he is leaving the Trojans and has been rumored to be considering Stillwater as a future destination.

Go Pokes has learned that the Oklahoma State staff was as surprised as anybody over Moody's sudden decision to depart USC, where he gained 459 yards and scored two touchdowns as a freshman last season in earning some mention as Pac-10 Offensive Newcomer of the Year.

Rumors that have seemed to started on the West Coast have Oklahoma State linked as a probable destination for Moody, but that too seemed to be a mystery to the OSU staff. There were questions where it came from as Moody, when coming out of Coppell High School in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the 2006 recruiting class, decided against attending Oklahoma State fairly early in the process. He actually made an early commitment to Texas before changing his mind after an official visit to Southern Cal.

One player at Oklahoma State we thought might be able to shed light on the subject is backup junior defensive tackle Allen Oh. Oh transferred to Oklahoma State from Missouri Southern and while in high school knew Moody despite being a couple of years ahead of him in school.

"When I was on varsity he was on JV, but when I watched JV games he was just above everybody else," said Oh of those days at Coppell High School, oddly enough the Coppell Cowboys. "When I really got to see his strength and stuff was we were on the same power-lifting team together and he made it to the state championship as a sophomore."

Oh said he has talked with Moody some since high school, but not recently enough to know anything about Moody's recent news flash.

"We have maybe chatted a couple of times on line," added Oh, who was shocked Moody was leaving Southern Cal. "I was really shocked because last year he started about eight games for them and had a pretty good season as a freshman. I don't know why he would leave USC, but with his connection here he had talked to Coach (Curtis) Luper before in recruiting and that is all I know about that."

Obviously, there's not much there, but it is a connection. USC head coach Pete Carroll was quoted that Moody told him he wanted to go to a school where he would be more featured and there was less competition for the running back job.

A family friend of Moody, Michael Chang of Coppell, was quoted in The Dallas Morning News as saying that Moody was heading back home to start looking at where he would continue his college career. Attempts to reach Moody were unanswered, although we did leave a message on his cell phone.

Moody missed USC's last five games of the 2006 season with an injury. He also missed all of spring practice with a strained hamstring, and was injured again (believed to be a torn meniscus in the knee) in a scrimmage last Saturday. When USC grants Moody a release he can actively pursue other schools and they can pursue him. He will have to sit out a season before being eligible to play three seasons at his future school.

As for the more important stor, concerning practice and Oklahoma State's continued preparation in fall camp for the 2007 season and the opener with Georgia, Gundy did comment on that.

"We had another good practice today, a lot of work, a thud scrimmage, a lot of special teams and conditioning. It was a lot of work for us today," Gundy said. "We are progressing well and we are kind of on track where we need to be. We'll go tomorrow in shorts and shoulder pads and then go Saturday with 120 to 130-play scrimmage and then get into the Georgia game plan pretty serious."

Gundy said there is still work to do on the depth chart with competition still going on. He said it will be pretty intense deciding who all will be on the plane going to Georgia for the opener.

"It is (contentious) because of special teams is such a big factor," said Gundy. "Guys that can help us in the kicking game need to be on the plane and some of them will be freshmen. You know we had some key contributors last season on special teams that were freshmen, and we have some that have really played well up to this point in two-a-days.

"We'll carry more than we normally do. We usually carry 66 and we'll carry 72 or 74 on this trip. If a guy has earned it, because we certainly don't want a guy on there that hasn't earned it."

Some of those final spots are likely to be determined in the scrimmage on Saturday. Not trying to be trite, but Emmanuel Moody will not be on the plane to Georgia. However, he might be in a car bound for Stillwater sometime in the future, at least if the Internet rumors come true.

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