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Cowboys Dealing With Bowl Week Distractions

20101223-San Antonio 20101223-San Antonio

Originally Published: Dec 23, 2010 8:40 PM CDT

Corey DeMoss
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

SAN ANTONIO – The Oklahoma State Cowboys arrived in San Antonio Thursday and have only four more days of practice before they face Arizona in the Alamo Bowl.

The players were instantly put in a good mood thanks to a crowd of San Antonio residents greeting them as they arrived, showing the reception for which the city has become famous.

“The hospitality has just been amazing,” cornerback Andrew McGee said. “We walked in the door and there were people everywhere greeting us. It’s just a good feeling to know that we’re welcome and they want us here. That’s the best feeling in the world.”

One of the biggest dangers of bowl season is allowing players to become distracted by their surroundings, so the OSU coaching staff made sure to snuff that problem quickly.

“That’s why we practiced today, to kind of get back in the mode of preparation for this game,” head coach Mike Gundy said. “We want them to enjoy their time here, but also to understand the importance of preparing to win the game.”

While the team will spend plenty of time on the practice field, it is also planning several events for the players and coaches to do together off the field. The Cowboys will also take part in a few joint events with Arizona.

“We’ve got some team events, Sea World and stuff like that,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “I’m just going to enjoy it. We’ve got a few days to prepare before the game and just kind of enjoy it and have fun with it.”

In addition to trying to overcome the distractions of their new surroundings, the players also have to deal with being away from home during the holidays. Weeden admitted the situation is difficult, but both he and Gundy said this is the situation in which teams hope to be.

“I think our coaching staff did a good job of splitting up time as far as practices and giving us some free time, but still when we do practice having some quality practices,” Weeden said. “It’s always difficult; every team goes through it, it’s just part of playing in a bowl game.”

While the Cowboys will go into the Alamo Bowl having had one of the best season in school history, Arizona will enter having floundered of late.

The Wildcats had a chance to compete for a BCS bowl berth, but instead lost their final four games of the season to finish with a 7-5 record. Gundy said that makes them dangerous.

“Arizona will come in here ready to play,” he said. “They probably didn’t play as well as they would have wanted to in the last month. It’s an opportunity for them to come back out and compete in their last game. I’ve been in that situation before, and so I’m sure their coaches have told them that and they’ll come in here ready to play.”
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