Cowboys taking advantage of open week

Jimmy Gillispie/Stillwater News Press Oklahoma State junior Malcolm Rodriguez (20) tackles Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson during a Big 12 Conference game at Boone Pickens Stadium.

While there is work to be done following Oklahoma State’s loss to Texas Tech and in preparation for a presently undefeated Baylor team on Oct. 19, Cowboy coach Mike Gundy has scaled things back during OSU’s open week.

“(Working on) basic fundamentals, and getting a lot of quality reps for the young guys who haven’t gotten as much work on game day,” Gundy said Tuesday. “The varsity got a little bit, but not as much. Majority (of the work) was with young guys. Those guys got to practice.”

The practices allowed the scout team players to return to their groups working on improving their own craft and competing against teammates opposite them doing the same, instead of solely working on preparing the starters for an upcoming opponent.

“It was fun,” Gundy said. “Today was very loud. A couple of times it was like in high school when you have a fight in the cafeteria – that sound – that’s what was going on, they were all competing and having fun.

“Both practices were good practices.”

Gundy admitted he would have preferred the open week having come a few weeks earlier than it did this season. However, it is coming a week earlier than a year ago – in which the Cowboys didn’t have their open week until they had played seven games, which was the latest open week in recent years for OSU.

“I wish we would’ve had an open week earlier,” Gundy said. “I would have liked to have one after week three or four because you have to take August into consideration. Even if you got an open week after week three, that is still seven weeks of football, which is a lot for these guys.”

The week away from competition is still coming at an important time for OSU.

It is allowing players who have been injured – such as the offensive line, which has been beat up the past few weeks – or players getting significant playing time, an opportunity to rest and heal before an important three-game stretch against Baylor, Iowa State and Texas Christian that could decide where the Cowboys finish in the final Big 12 standings.

“They’re all doing good. Everybody gets a little better each day,” Gundy said. “It gives us a chance to take some guys who play a lot and not work them hardly any at all. Really, rest is the only thing that can help their bodies.

“So like A.J. (Green), Chuba (Hubbard) and guys like that, they didn’t practice much the last couple of days.”

The players will now get four days to get away from practice or preparations until they reconvene Sunday for the start of a typical game week.

Follow News Press sports editor Jason Elmquist on Twitter @jelmquistSW for updates on Oklahoma State football.

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