Insight Bowl Notebook: Youth Gridiron Day

After the Oklahoma State Cowboys wrapped up Saturday's practice that featured scripted work on special teams, offense and defense, all situations they expect to see in the game on Monday, they spent close to an hour playing catch and showing some technique to two different groups of youngsters from local area Boys Clubs. The players and the kids seemed to have a real good time.

Leading the way for the Cowboys and jumping in to play with the youngsters was OSU running back Dantrell Savage. It was something that Mike Gundy enjoyed seeing.

"I think one thing people will say about us is that we try to do the best that we can out in the community," said Gundy while watching the activities. "We try to instill in our players that it is important that they have relationships with people outside of football and an opportunity to spend time with these young people that may not have as much as some of us is important.

"We are very fortunate to be in the situation we are in and some of our players come from situations similar to some of these youngsters, so they know how important it is to spend time with these young people and some of the things these young people go through."

Preparation Good for Bowl Game
After the practice on Saturday the Cowboys had a couple of hours of free time and then ate a gourmet meal for the players and coaches only at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort. The hotel chef had been working a couple of weeks on the menu which was included multiple entrees so there was something for everybody.

The final practice, a walk through at Sun Devil Stadium, will take place on Sunday around 1 p.m. The next 48 hours are pretty tightly screwed down for the Cowboys from an itinerary standpoint.

Have the Cowboys done enough and are they ready? "There are a lot of ways to prepare for a bowl and different philosophies and we feel like we practice the same way we do during the regular season but they just have more free time during the day," said Gundy. "As we get closer to the game, which is tonight and tomorrow, we ask them to get more focused."

Gundy added that he was happy with the entire week in Arizona.

"We had a good week of practice and there is a lot of enthusiasm and the players really enjoy each other. The camaraderie, the fellowship, it's really enjoyable to watch them and they know this is the last time for this group to be together," added Gundy. "They enjoy being around each other, so that is a lot of fun."

The game, like last year's Independence Bowl victory over Alabama, will decide if the Cowboys finish the season with a winning record or not. When asked about that, Gundy said either way he thinks his team is better and program more advanced.

"We're a better football team and we're further along in our program than we were a year ago."

Fedora Joins Cowboys
Saturday's practice brought a familiar sight as head coach Mike Gundy, who will call plays on Monday against Indiana, was standing on the offensive practice field next to former Cowboy offensive coordinator Larry Fedora, who is now the head coach at Southern Miss. Fedora and his family arrived in Arizona on Friday afternoon to join the Cowboys bowl party.

"I'm here this weekend supporting the team," said Fedora. "I have a lot invested with these guys and I want to see them to do well."

Fedora said he will sit in the OSU coaches booth in the press box, and will still have a hand in the game plan on offense.

"I've looked over it obviously and I'm interested, you know in what they are going to do and it looks like to me they have a great plan put together," said Fedora taking no credit although it is his offensive playbook. "This is their deal and I'm just here to offer support and support the team."

Fedora said he has enough on his plate right now with Southern Miss, where he has hired five assistant coaches and a director of football operations.

"Obviously, right now the biggest thing is that there is more responsibility and you are making every decision," said the new head coach. "The big thing is putting a staff together and starting over from scratch in recruiting. Every decision falls on you now and that is the biggest difference. I didn't all of a sudden get my guru card and know everything. I've never had it, and don't put those words in my mouth."

Gundy said he felt his longtime friend and former assistant would do just fine as a head coach.

"I think Larry will be fine," said Gundy looking prideful. "He's been in this business a long time and he is a smart guy. The only thing about this profession is that when you get to this spot you need to be as honest and up front with everybody as you can be, and ultimately, if you think you are doing things right then you will be able to put your head down and go to sleep at night."

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