Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Oklahoma State's defense had its time with the media Tuesday morning.
On Wednesday, the Oklahoma State offense will take its turn in the morning, then the Missouri defense will go before the cameras and microphones in the afternoon.
The set-up allows for news conference-style interviews with the coordinators and key players. It's a good chance for the media to get "up close and personal."
Both teams met with the media Monday on the field at AT&T Stadium for a relaxed session of interviews. The teams also took their official team portraits and some had headshots taken for use on the television broadcast.
It was also a good time to get acclimated to the environment at AT&T Stadium - especially the giant video screen hanging over the field.
COWBOYS START ACCLIMATING TO AT&T STADIUM
ARLINGTON – Not all domed stadiums are created equally. Oklahoma State started adjusting to its domed venue for the AT&T Cotton Bowl by practicing at AT&T Stadium for the first time Tuesday afternoon.
The 13th-ranked Cowboys (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) worked on all areas in advance of Friday’s game against eighth-ranked Missouri (11-2, 7-2 SEC). They arrived last Friday and all practices have been closed to the media and public. But controlling access can be a challenge at AT&T Stadium because of its sheer size, so the team conducted its initial workouts at Trinity High School in nearby Euless.
Oklahoma State last played here in the 2010 AT&T Cotton Bowl, just months after the stadium opened. The team attended a function here Saturday and the Dallas Cowboys game Sunday.
“But it wasn’t the same as them getting out here and getting on the football field,” Head Coach Mike Gundy said. “Most of them are star struck, but we had a good practice.”
One more practice in the stadium is scheduled for Wednesday and the team will conduct a walk-through on Thursday. Just getting used to the high-definition video screen, which hangs over the field and stretches 60 yards wide, takes time.
OSU played its first two games this season in domed venues, beating Mississippi State at Houston’s Reliant Stadium and Texas-San Antonio at the Alamodome. AT&T Stadium is 50 percent larger in square footage and, at nearly 300 feet tall, is four stories higher than Reliant, which is slightly larger than the Alamodome.
Most of the starters also suited up when Oklahoma State played in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. OSU won that game, too, beating Stanford.
No depth-perception issues were reported in Tuesday’s practice. But the light coming through the massive windows on the east and west sides created a minor issue during the 2010 bowl game, Gundy said. That game was played during the day. Friday’s will be played at night.
They’d be well-served to remember the surroundings. Oklahoma State will open the 2014 season at AT&T Stadium against Florida State.
“It’s certainly not like any other arena in the country,” Gundy said.
Besides the building’s physical stature, its national prominence is not lost on the players, especially many of the 71 who are from Texas.
Junior running back Desmond Roland of Dallas said he had goose bumps while attending the Dallas Cowboys game and is eager to play in the stadium.
“It means so much to me … so I want to put on a show – not trying to sound selfish.” Roland said. “I want to play real good.”
Oklahoma State practiced less than two hours in shorts as part of its progressively lighter workload as game day approaches.
“They’ll be fresh,” Gundy said.
Arlington – The No. 8 Missouri Tigers spent New Year’s Eve morning back on the practice field with their focus squarely on the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic and their opponent, the No. 13 Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Mizzou (1-2, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) was crisp in its workout that ran just under two hours. Working in pads and shorts, the team conducted group work sessions accompanied with some full-field scrimmaging in fine-tuning its game plan for Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2 Big 12 Conference).
Head Coach Gary Pinkel said he knows the importance of his Tigers translating their work in practice to the game in order to snap the three-game losing skid to their former Big12 counterpart.
“It was good work (today),” said Pinkel. “I think the players are starting to feel it. This was a Wednesday for us. The players are feeling it and just feeling the game is coming. I thought we
had a good practice. There are a lot of distractions anytime you’re at a bowl game but I think
we’re doing a pretty good of separating and coming out here and focusing.”
A focus in this Classic matchup will be on offense as both teams feature explosive units, ranked next to each other nationally. The Tigers are 15th in the country averaging 39.0 points per game with Oklahoma State just ahead in 14th with 39.8 points-per-game average. Mizzou has been especially productive early, scoring 277 of its 507 points before halftime.
“Every coach in America wants to start fast. We talk about it, we mention it to our players but we don’t harp on it,” added Pinkel. “What happens is if you keep saying ‘let’s start fast, let’s
start fast’ and have to punt the ball the first two times, you’re almost deflating the team. We
emphasize it but not to the point where if things don’t go well. You still have to be able to come
“We all want to start that way but we also recognize that sometimes the way the other team is playing, you might not. Then, you just have to keep battling.”
The Tigers return to AT&T Stadium one more time before game day with a final morning
workout on Wednesday. That practice is also closed to the media and the public.
On Sunday night, members of both the Missouri and Oklahoma State teams were treated to seats at AT&T Stadium to watch the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys.
The lucky group above from Oklahoma State got to watch from one of the stadium's many field level suites.
In fact,the blond fellow on the left giving the pistol hand signal is OSU safety Zack Craig whose girlfriend is a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader!
The Oklahoma State party heads into AT&T Stadium.
Speed artist D. Westry puts his signature on his OSU artwork.
The festivities got under way Saturday night for the 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic with the annual Team Welcome Party at AT&T Stadium, an event co-hosted by the Dallas Cowboys.
Both team traveling parties were treated to a lavish buffet meal, highlighted by AT&T Stadium's legendary gourmet mac-and-cheese. While dining, the group was entertained by speed artist D. Westry, who got Missouri quarterback James Franklin (above, left) in on the act.
Afterwards, everyone was treated to videos made for the event and shown on AT&T Stadium's gigantic video screen. The world-famous Kilgore Rangerettes were on hand to usher patrons around the building and hand out parting gifts. Great start to a great week of events!