December 24, 2006

Rainy Christmas Eve

While it was Christmas Eve all over the country, the focus of Oklahoma State's football team on Sunday was on another practice for the Independence Bowl.

The 6-6 Cowboys practiced for about two hours at Independence Stadium in rainy conditions. At first glance, you wouldn't think that would be an ideal situation for a bowl game practice, as the final fine-tuning of the game plans is taking place. But looking at the week-long forecast for the Shreveport area, there's a 30 percent chance of rain for Thursday.

Whether or not that will hold is anyone's guess, but head coach Mike Gundy wasn't bugged much by the inclement weather.

"There was a steady rain out there, and from what I understand it might rain on Thursday," Gundy said. "It was good to practice in it and get used to it.

"They were fine (in the rain). These guys are going to go out there and practice hard. One thing the staff has done a good job of getting across to them is that we are going to practice for two hours. They might as well have fun out there. The leadership on this team has brought the young players along and they understand that."

Tailback Dantrell Savage wasn't bothered at all by practicing out in less-than-favorable conditions.

"It is not that difficult to practice in the rain," Savage said. "There are some things you have to watch out for. You learn to get through those things. Practice is about focusing on getting better."

As for the practice itself?

"We had another good practice," Gundy said. "They practiced well today. They moved around well. Coach (Rob) Glass is running them to help open those lungs up. It was a good day to practice."

Meanwhile, OSU's opponent, the Alabama Crimson Tide, have been prepping just like the Cowboys have. The Tide (6-6) conducted their final full-pad scrimmage in Tuscaloosa on Thursday and held a short practice on Friday before taking Saturday off. The Tide rolled into Shreveport Sunday afternoon. Joe Kines, who is the acting head coach for the bowl game after the firing of Mike Shula, said that practice back home has been good. The Tide will practice Christmas afternoon at Independence Stadium.

"We closed a little part of this thing," said Kines of wrapping up practice in Tuscaloosa. "We did some goal line stuff, short yardage stuff and some things that are really important to get done before we get there. Our offense was really sharp early in practice when we went against each other, about as fine as a period as we have had in a long time. They really jumped out there and looked good and worked hard.

"The work here is done. It has been good work. The weather was amazing (on Friday). We didn't have to fight the elements."

This will be the first meeting between the Cowboys and Tide. The Independence Bowl is set to be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. central time.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!