Cowboy Football: Bowl Practices Begin

Brisk was the key word as head coach Mike Gundy and his coaching staff led the Oklahoma State Cowboys through the first of their bowl practices in preparation for the Jan. 2 Cotton Bowl game with Ole Miss in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

This was the first time the Cowboys had convened for practice since the end of the regular season on Nov. 27 at Oklahoma.

The 9-3 Cowboys got a nearly two-week break with dead week and final exams. The reason for the emphasis on the word brisk, the weather was brisk with temperatures in the upper 30's and the practice was a fast moving one with plenty of individual and group work and a team period at the end. The entire workout lasted around an hour and a half.

The Cowboys will take off Saturday for graduation ceremonies as a number of players are getting diplomas on Saturday. Practice will resume on Sunday with a scheduled two hour workout. Friday's practices was held on the dormant bermuda grass practice field on the east side of Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The majority of the squad participated with the exception of some injured players. Offensive tackle Brady Bond did return to work and that was good. Walter Camp All-American left tackle Russell Okung was held up on a flight delay in Atlanta, Ga., as he and sports information assistant Gavin Lang and assistant athletic director for strength and conditioning Rob Glass were on their way back from the ESPNU Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Orlando, Fla.

The Cowboys are preparing for a stout Ole Miss team that finished 8-4, with a 4-4 record in the SEC, under former OSU quarterback and assistant coach Houston Nutt.

On offense Ole Miss has dual threat scatback Dexter McCluster, who ran for 985 yards and caught 475 yards worth of passes with nine combined touchdowns. Quarterback Jevan Snead completed 54 percent of his passes for 2,46 yards and 20 touchdowns but also threw 17 interceptions.

Shay Hodge, a 6-2, 207-pound physical receiver, had 63 receptions averaging 16.2 yards per catch. The offensive line is huge and averages 6-5 and 316 pounds per man.

On defense, former Southern Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix is the master of the disguise on defense but the truth is his front line including nose tackle Jerrell Powe and ends Kentrell Lockett and Marcus Tillman are the strong suit for the defense. A concern for Oklahoma State is big corners and 5-9 Marshay Green and 5-11 Cassius Vaughn are the starters. The Rebels defense is tough.

This is an official recruiting weekend and spotted at practice Friday were Celina, Texas linebacker Caleb Lavey and his father, and cornerback Devin Hedgepeth of Derby, Kan.

Lavey and Hedgepeth are OSU verbal commitments that are expected to enroll and attend class in January and be a part of off-season and spring practice work.

Also expected for this weekend of official visits is All-American wide receiver Darius White and his family out of Fort Worth (Dunbar), Texas. We did not see White as he had perhaps not arrived in time to view practice.

Again, Oklahoma State resumes practice on Sunday and will practice most of next week before taking time off for Christmas after practice on Dec. 22, and then meeting in Dallas for the bowl activities on Saturday, Dec. 26.

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