"We had a good practice and we had all of our players here," said Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy after the first practice. "We ran around and practiced for about an hour and 15 minutes and we're excited about being in Dallas and the accommodations are great and it is going to be a great week."
"As a kid growing up in Dallas, it's a dream come true to get to play in the Cotton Bowl," said special teams captain and Rowlett, Texas product Deion Imade. "Being here and getting this whole experience is a dream come true."
The OSU players are looking forward to opportunities to hang out and have fun. The Gaylord is tremendous and includes restaurants and clubs inside the hotel, not to mention activities including ice sliding in the hotel and a massive aquarium. The players have a 1 a.m. curfew on Friday night and the chance to explore the hotel and also the surrounding area.
"It feels great," linebacker Caleb Lavey said shortly after arriving at the hotel complex. "I've only been here for two hours, and this is an awesome bowl. I've gotten to check out a few of the sites, and I haven't been to a bowl this nice yet. I'm very excited.
"This is my first time in this hotel. I'm from the area, so I've been around here. Unfortunately, this is the first time I've been here, but I can promise you it won't be the last based on how nice this place is. I've only seen like one percent of it and it looks like there's endless things to do. The player hospitality room is like a dreamland. It's going to be hard getting me out of there," added Lavey.
Oklahoma State can't invite prospective recruits over to the hotel, which obviously is really, really nice, but Gundy understands just the presence of the Cowboys in North Texas this week can impact recruiting.
"There are a lot of players from around here and we get a lot of positive press," Gundy added. "People know about Oklahoma State football and being around an area that produces so many great football players is good for the University to be here."
As for the biggest challenge for the Cowboys this week. it may not be the strength of the Missouri offense with talented quarterback James Franklin, the running ability of Henry Josey and Russell Hansbrough or size and talent of the wide receivers, it could be that strong Tigers pass rush led by All-American defensive end Michael Sam. It also might be trying to get the players to leave the hotel for practice.
"If I can find the bus," Lavey answered if he was eager to go to practice. "I might get lost on my way out of here, it's so big. We are here to work and we have to realize we still have a job at hand, but I'm going to enjoy everything else while I'm here."
The Cowboys are happy and a happy team typically prepares and plays well.