Cowboy Football: Bye Week Practice Notes

The Oklahoma State Cowboys were on the grass practice field east of Gallagher-Iba Arena on Tuesday afternoon for a two-hour practice session. It was the first practice of what will be a short week of work during the bye week. It will be a short week but not a week without work.

"We had a good practice today," said Gundy. "We were able to go out for two hours and get some work done. We did some preliminary work on Texas A&M and we spent half of the practice working on fundamentals, obviously in shorts and shoulder pads, give the guys that are beat up a chance to rest but also get some work and get some things taken care of.

"I liked the way the players worked, the way they competed today. We'll come back out here tomorrow with more work on the A&M game and also blocking and tackling and all the things that are fundamental to football."

One of the positives to come out of the 56-6 win over Grambling were the names that showed up in the box score. Those new names ranged from Hubert Anyiam with a trio of catches, freshman wide receiver Tracy Moore with two catches and a touchdown, and his Tulsa Union teammate and fellow freshman Jeremy Smith with 15 carries for 160 yards and his first collegiate touchdown.

Gundy really liked a catch late in the game to set up the Smith touchdown by speedster Isaiah Anderson. Gundy was asked about Fooks as an example of where all these younger players are heading.

"He makes catches in practice," said Gundy of Fooks. "He's hungry and consistent and wants to learn, and yes, we think he has a bright future."

Quarterback Zac Robinson said he has seen the reaction in practice since the game Saturday and how these players are more confident.

"Anytime you make plays in a game it is going to give you more confidence in practice, the next game, the next time you step out on the field," said Robinson. "I think those guys have some confidence and that is going to really help us in conference play."

There is no doubt the depth on the squad has increased,or should we say that it will be increased when the injured guys get healthy.

"If we have everybody healthy we've increased our depth, but we don't have everybody healthy and haven't had them healthy for the last couple of games," answered Gundy. "Once we get everybody healthy and we get them back in the line-up we should have increased our depth."

Gundy said the Cowboys have a couple of more days to put in the work and then total recess for a few days. "We'll let them off Friday and Saturday and then have them come back in here on Sunday for check in and then get back to practice on Monday," said Gundy.

So what will the Cowboys do with the time off? Home cooking is the agenda for most of the players and many of the players that can't make it home will go home with somebody else.

"You come up here to Oklahoma and all the guys from Texas look forward to that one weekend and the chance to get back home and spending time to relax a little bit," said Andre Sexton, who said he might try to get by to see his high school alma mater Cypress Falls play and then relax on Saturday. "It came up really early this year. Just about everybody will go home."

Quarterback Zac Robinson won't be heading home to Denver. He has relatives in Edmond, Oklahoma City, and Dallas among other locations, but he sounds like he is one of the few that may chill in Stillwater.

"I'm not sure yet," said Robinson. "I'll probably stay around here and play some golf and relax. I'll watch some football on Saturday. I love to watch college football and before I even knew I would play college football I liked watching it, the games and College Game Day. It's fun to check out some other teams."

While his quarterback sound like he will be watching college football on the tube, even watching the next opponent, Texas A&M take on Arkansas, the head coach has live football to watch with his two oldest sons.

"I've got two games, both out of town, so one is at noon and the other is at 6:30 at night, so there is no place I would rather be," said Gundy of his off week Saturday schedule. "I get to watch the boys play and the other one will want to fish, so I doubt that I get to watch much TV."

He'll get to see it, he'll just wait until coming in on Sunday to watch the Aggies and the Razorbacks on coaches video.

Oklahoma State fans have expressed concern over field goals missed in the first four games. The misses started with a 37-yarder early in the Houston loss. The second miss came in the first half against Rice with a 44-yard try that just missed. Last week against Grambling the Cowboys missed their only field goal try, a 47-yard attempt. Junior kicker Dan Bailey is 3-of-6 on the season.

"He's missed three, but two of them were 47 (yards) and 43, so I think Dan takes a lot of pride in it and it's frustrating him," said special teams coordinator Joe DeForest. "He was injured early on in camp, but mentally he is okay and physically he is okay. As long as kicker's psyche is half the battle and I think he'll be okay."

DeForest said special teams, like offense and defense, are constantly evaluated and changes can be made, but with a veteran like Bailey that has been consistent and done a good job he is hesitant to make a quick move.

"Obviously, the answer that everybody wants is to put in Quinn (Sharp), but it is really hard for a kid to punt, kick-off, and kick field goals," explained DeForest. "The leg swings are different and eventually what do you give up to practice the other.

"(Sharp) is doing really well. He is leading the conference in touchbacks and leading the conference in punting. If you stick him on field goals is it going to detract from the others? I don't know but I don't want to take that chance. Ultimately, we are going to play the best guy and if Dan continues to miss field goals then obviously we're going to look somewhere else."

The hope is that Bailey uses the open week to get his consistency back and start hitting like he did in the 2008 season when he was 17-of-23 on field goal attempts.

Yes, the Cowboys quarterback celebrated his birthday on Tuesday as he turned 23 years old.

"I did get a cake, a couple of cakes," said Robinson. "We are going to have stuff to eat for a couple of weeks now. They (teammates) did not sing Happy Birthday to me, but they may have something planned for later."

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