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September 23, 2013

Cowboys can’t keep away from football during bye week

STILLWATER, Okla. — Mike Gundy isn’t afraid to voice his displeasure when it comes to certain aspects of the Oklahoma State football program.

He’s not a fan of playing non-conference games on the road — stating he’d rather see Boone Pickens Stadium filled with orange and black — and he’d rather not have a bye week four weeks into the season — or even three open dates as the Cowboys have this season.

“Most benefits from bye week, health or extra reps without a game,” Gundy said. “I think it’s always good if you have guys who are beat up a little bit to get a week off. And you get a couple of practices, just on basic fundamentals. Other than that, for the most part, they are kind of overrrated.”

While he may find the open date overrated, it does serve an important time for the future of the program as it gives the coaching staff an opportunity to hit the recruiting trail in the peak of the high school and junior college football season.

“We practiced Thursday and then everybody left and went recruiting Thursday night, Friday and some of them Saturday, which was common for us on an open week,” Gundy said.

Outside the duties of head coach of the Cowboy football program, Gundy did get a chance to be a red-blooded Oklahoma dad over the weekend.

“My two little boys had (youth football) games, then when I got home I went dove hunting and I got back later on that night,” Gundy said.

As for some of the Cowboy players, they couldn’t help but be attracted to more football during the bye weekend. While some players got away from it all — such as Jeremy Smith skipping out on going to a high school game to spend some time with his girlfriend, or Caleb Lavey spending some time swimming — there were also those who found a way to scratch the football itch.

“I didn’t get away from football. I went to the Carl Albert game,” senior safety Daytwion Lowe said. “I was just able to chill and watch football, so there wasn’t any pressure about getting yelled at the next day.”

Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback J.W. Walsh shocked some by admitting he didn’t make his usual trip back to Denton, Texas, to watch his dad — who is head football coach at Guyer High School — but that was because his alma mater also had a bye week.

So instead, Walsh spent his open Saturday sitting in front of the television, watching football of course.

“I definitely watched a lot of college football. We don’t have very many chances on Saturdays to watch all the games on TV, so I definitely took advantage of that. I watched the West Virginia game, but mostly just to enjoy it and not have to break down film and analyze everything. It was nice being able to relax and enjoy it.”

As for the time spent together, the Cowboys were able to prepare for this week’s opponent in West Virginia — which suffered a 37-0 loss at the hands of Maryland this past weekend.

“It was good. We had some physical practices last week, and got a jump on West Virginia. Fundamentally, we had a good week,” OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “That’s the time when you’re able to work on some fundamental things like shedding blocks and tackling. Schematically, we were able to work on some things we want to do against West Virginia. It was a productive week.”

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