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Recapping Oklahoma State’s All Access piece on ESPNU

by Gina Mizell Published: September 27, 2012

Oklahoma State’s All Access piece on ESPNU aired Tuesday and Wednesday night. Here’s what you missed if you couldn’t watch it or forgot to set the DVR. The show was filmed last Tuesday and gives a “day-in-the-life” look inside the Cowboy football program.

Opening: Cue harmonica country music, shots of the statue outside the practice field and Pistol Pete inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. Then comes coach Mike Gundy’s voice. His first word? Tempo. It’s the start of a long string of what I like to call “Gundyisms.”

First stop is Gundy’s daily meeting with assistant coaches and other staff members. They talk about injured quarterback Wes Lunt, who had just been placed in a cast to immobilize his left leg. Then Gundy mentions how he sent out hand-written notes to recruits telling them about the process of enrolling early at OSU. The meeting ends with Gundy talking about attitude, playing fast and the great weather. More Gundyisms.

Next stop is the weight room, where the Cowboys are going through a similar routine as when I shadowed during the summer.

On to the training room where defensive end Tyler Johnson is…picking up balls of tape with his toes? Yep. That’s an exercise to help with his plantar fasciitis he said had sprung up about a week before. Then, center Jake Jenkins is getting taped up and asking if normal starter Evan Epstein–who was injured late in the Arizona game and missed the Louisiana-Lafayette contest–was going to practice that day. No, Epstein’s going to stay on the bike. If it wasn’t a bye week for the Cowboys, Espstein could have gone, but the extra time off will give Jenkins more reps.

Next, defensive end Nigel Nicholas gives viewers a tour of Boone Pickens Stadium. It starts with a scenic view from the roof, then goes down to the locker room, where linebacker Caleb Lavey (who Nicholas calls the “anchor” of the defense), fullback David Paulsen and offensive lineman Orlando Hudson make an appearance. Then it’s up to the coaches’ offices, where plenty of trophies and photos are displayed. But it’s a bit empty as far as people go. Gundy is not in his office. Neither is director of football operations Mack Butler. Nicholas finally finds linebackers coach Glenn Spencer at his desk and inside receivers coach Doug Meacham, cornerbacks coach Jason Jones and safeties coach Van Malone roaming the halls.

Then comes perhaps the highlight of the show for me. While giving a tour of the locker room, Nicholas points to a chair he says Gundy always stands on before a game, and then does an impersonation of Gundy’s pregame speech, down the the accent. Hilarious. Then Nicholas goes through the walk the team takes from the locker room to the tunnel before the gate opens and the Cowboys run out onto the field.

Next up is a team meeting, where Gundy stresses playing fast and preparing like the Cowboys were going to play that Saturday. Then it’s off to the running backs meeting, where coach Jemal Singleton says “the little things make a big difference.” Like fundamentals. This week will be centered around ball security, and the scouts team’s goal will be to strip it. Paging Joseph Randle?

Then it’s the long walk to the practice field. Long. It goes out the tunnel, along the BPS sideline, up the stairs to the main concourse, out the stadium gate then across the parking lot to the field. Epstein and fellow offensive lineman Parker Graham joke that they should bring a tape measure one day.

Cue practice montage. During stretches, Gundy tells someone out of the shot that he was “scooting down the sideline…just like Guthrie High.” Obviously, that’s fullback Kye Staley. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken is working with the quarterbacks and wide receivers, and noticeably calmer than the Depth Chart show ESPN ran last season. Singleton jokes with Paulsen that he “wouldn’t have dunked on a 7-foot (hoop) with that vert” (I assume this was during a passing drill). Gundy yells out words like “attitude,” “finish” and “communicate.”

Then Gundy decides to party like it’s 1988 and sling the football around during practice. He even showed some ability to roll out of the pocket and throw on the run.

Coming out of a commercial break, there’s a shot of Lunt coming around a corner on crutches. The play where he was injured is shown a couple times. Then Gundy says how proud he was of backup J.W. Walsh.

Back to practice. Monken is working with Walsh on a footwork and accuracy drill, and the throw is too low the first time. “Do it again,” Monken says. Walsh does and hits the target. Gundy is barking at “66″ to straighten his snap. That’s third-team center Travis Cross–keep in mind that Epstein is not taking reps on this day, so Cross is running with the second team.

The team finishes practice with a two-minute drill. Gundy hollers “I guarantee you’ll be this tired two Saturdays from now, so you might as well get ready.” Then when it’s over, Gundy says “I feel like doing that for an hour. That’s fun, now.”

During the huddle at the end of practice, Gundy tells the players to get caught up on their schoolwork this week. He also tells them to “avoid distractions,” another one of his go-to Gundyisms. Then, Walsh breaks the team down with “BCS.”

Overall, the piece was well done, much like the Depth Chart show. It’s definitely a great marketing and recruiting tool, and gave a good glimpse at what it’s like to be inside the OSU program for a day.

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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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