Cowboys Football: Back To Practice

Mike Gundy

The conclusion of final exams allowed the Oklahoma State Cowboys to get back out on the field for practice Friday. The team did have practices last Friday and Sunday before final exams started, so Friday's practice went as number three on the way to 15 bowl practices.

The Cowboys will drill in Stillwater through next Sunday and then meet up in Dallas on Dec. 27 to begin on site preparations for the date with Purdue on New Year's Day in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

The Cowboys were without offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who earlier this week accepted the job as head coach at Southern Miss.

Oddly enough, one of his new players at Southern Miss is Dillon Fedora, a former OSU walk-on wide receiver and son of former OSU offensive coordinator Larry Fedora, the current North Carolina head coach.

Without Monken that meant that head coach Mike Gundy was back coaching quarterbacks, and Gundy says the work on the offense is a group project.

"We're going to get together as a group and do it as a group," said Gundy of game planning on offense and play calling against Purdue. "We may make a decision at the bowl game, but I'm in the meetings with them right now and we'll do it as a group."

Gundy reiterated that much of the offense is scripted and it kind of runs itself. As for the quarterbacks, the speculation is that Clint Chelf will remain the starter for the bowl game with J.W. Walsh playing in certain situations as he has been.

Gundy was asked about the quarterback reps during the two-plus hour practice.

"We haven't changed it and we have a number of reps for the one, the two, and the three, and that stayed consistent today," said Gundy.

"We do have a few more reps in our bowl practices because we are out there a little longer because we aren't out there each day. We take days off, so it has increased a little bit but not the percentage of reps for each quarterback."

The quarterback reported that the practice went well. Players were eager to be out there and the energy level was good. Even the execution was pretty good for having been off nearly a week.

"It's been so long since we've got to practice that it was kind of exciting to get out here and get in the swing of things," said Walsh. "It was kind of interesting and kind of good to have someone new and kind of switch things up."

"I think everybody was relieved to get done with finals, so that really helped," said Chelf, who is graduating and will walk across the stage and get his degree on Saturday.

"Coach Monken was there and he's been here the last couple of years and everybody liked him and liked having him around. All these coaches know the offense and they know how to teach it. It was different not having Coach Monken there yelling and getting after people, but as far as the offense it was the same."

By the way, Chelf reported that he has been accepted into graduate school in the Spears School of Business for work on an MBA which he plans to start in the spring.

Chelf said the talk and speculation on the internet about him possibly transferring and following Monken to Southern Miss is crazy, as is the case of any of the other OSU quarterbacks. He said they all intend on being at Oklahoma State.

The quarterbacks are all pretty smart with the offense, and they too can run it.

"Any of us can run it," answered Chelf. "It's a product of the system, everbody being able to call it and run it. You don't have to have one guy that calls the plays. A lot of us could do it, but Coach Monken was really good at it."

Gundy said he was happy with the practice.

"I thought they had a good practice today," added Gundy. "I thought they were productive and the attitude and body language were good which is really important. The way they practiced today I think they understand the importance of wanting to be in a game and in a bowl game and wanting to compete. I thought we had a good practice today."

On defense, there was a huge highlight in the practice on the first play of team between the top units as a pass was deflected by defensive end Ryan Robinson and caught on richochet. It was an extremely athletic play and one a teammate said he would like to make in the bowl game.

"I would definitely like to get one of those plays like Ryan (Robinson) got in team today." said defensive end Nigel Nicholas. "Except this time when I get the ball I want to take it to the crib and not get tackled by the quarterback."

That would be nice as the Cowboys defense could use a defensive touchdown. Every score helps and makes the group effort on offense easier.

The Cowboys have Saturday off before resuming practice on Sunday. All practices are closed to the public except for parts of two practices when the team gets to Dallas.

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