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Bowl Practices Valuable for Oklahoma State

Brandon Weeden Passing in Practice Brandon Weeden Passing in Practice

Originally Published: Dec 17, 2010 3:37 PM CDT

Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

STILLWATER, Oklahoma – Practices that fall after the regular season but before a bowl game are considered some of the most valuable of the season.

It gives teams time to heal up injuries and perfect aspects of offense and defense too major to address from week to week.

OSU coach Mike Gundy said some of the Cowboys’ lingering injuries are starting to heal up as his team prepares to face Arizona in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

“Justin Blackmon should be back out there running around today,” Gundy said. “Brandon Weeden is practicing and Nick Martinez is practicing. We expect (Martinez) to get his cast cut off in the next week. From an injury standpoint, we’re a healthy football team.”

Players will practice on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before taking a short break to go home and visit family.

On the 23rd, the team will meet in San Antonio and go through a normal game week routine.

Defensive coordinator Bill Young said practice schedules for bowls are nice because they allow for more flexibility than the regular season.

“We're trying not to practice more than two or three days in a row and cut back practice a little bit,” Young said. “Also, it's been great for our younger players because it's allowed us to spend more time with them and work on fundamentals and coaching them up."

Teams that qualify for bowl games get more “extra” practice time than those who don’t, due to non-bowl teams officially entering their offseason.

Coaches often mention the extra practices as the best part about reaching a bowl game because they can get younger players involved and even get a jump start on potential changes for the next season.

But Young said coaches can often make the mistake of over-working players in preparation for a bowl.

Oklahoma State players such as safety Markelle Martin said that although they are still working hard, they still consider the extra time a reward.
"We're looking forward to it a lot,” he said. “We want to go down there and just have fun and continue to practice and be around each other."
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