Cowboy Football Practice: Day 18

STILLWATER - It was back to work for the Oklahoma State football team Tuesday as the Cowboys were out for a two-and-a-half-hour, full-pad practice. After the traditional first day of classes off on Monday, Tuesday was the first practice in the new routine of being back in school. Head coach Mike Gundy remembers what it was like as a player and has experienced it countless times as a coach.

There is always concern and at the start of practice Gundy hinted that concern was warranted.

"They started out a little sluggish today," said Gundy. "There is always a lull because they are in a different routine and they get distracted by what's going on campus. I was a little concerned about the back to school practice, but they picked it up and they had good team periods, lot of work and conditioning.

"It ended up being a good practice. We still have a lot of work to do and looking forward to five or six hard practices and then start to back off a little bit. The attitude is great and we are healthy."

The pace of practice seemed different and so did the attitude as full attention was turned toward preparation for the Sept. 1 opening showdown at Georgia. There was a definite change in intensity, which working against scout teams running an opposing team's offense and defense will do. It is also becoming very clear that the days are counting down to kickoff.

"You never have enough days," said Gundy. "We have calendars that are a year in advance and you try to get everything structured and organized the Bill Walsh and Brian Billick ways. It's never enough days. You never feel comfortable but it is the way it is and we've got to push on. We're further along as a team, but this is a different challenge. This is a very good team we're playing that is well coached. There is not a warm-up game for us this year, but as a football team we're further along, more mature, and in good physical condition."

The work against Georgia will be mixed in Wednesday with one final scrimmage.

"Oh yeah, we're going to scrimmage about 60 plays," said Gundy of Wednesday's plan.

The scrimmage will be first and second units against each other, and not those top two units against scout teams. The rest of practice will likely involve work against scout teams imiating Georgia, a task Gundy talked about being very important for the younger players and veterans on the squad.

"It's a never-ending process trying to get them to give us a great look. But as we recruit good players that take pride in what they do, it takes care of itself," explained Gundy. "We have good demonstration teams right now, guys that are very prideful and working hard. The guys that do a good job we don't run them after practice because they get a lot of reps and don't get much of a break."

The rest of the week will involve heavy work each day with Saturday being the annual dress rehearsal that will include game uniforms and all possible situations that could come up in the opening game.

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