A holiday present to you, the readers. Here are some leftover nuggets from OSU’s bowl press conference last week:
Gundy hopes DT Castleman will return for Heart of Dallas Bowl
Starting defensive tackle James Castleman’s absence was noticeable in Oklahoma State’s 41-34 loss to Baylor in its regular season finale. The Bears gashed the Cowboys for 319 rushing yards, including a 76-yarder for a touchdown by Lache Seastrunk.
Entering that game, OSU had ranked 22nd in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 124.36 yards per game. Cowboy coach Mike Gundy has often attributed that to the development of Castleman in his sophomore season, as well as the addition of Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year Calvin Barnett.
But with nearly a month to recover, Gundy said he’s hopeful Castleman will return for the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Purdue.
“But he very well could not play,” Gundy said. “We won’t know (until closer to the game).”
If Castleman cannot go, Anthony Rogers would likely get the start.
Gundy not taking bowl berth for granted
Following last season’s Fiesta Bowl win, an appearance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl could be an understandable letdown for OSU.
Gundy admits his team was disappointed when his team slipped to the bowl that picks eighth in the Big 12 pecking order, despite finishing tied for third in the final conference standings. But the coach said the Cowboys are now past that, partly because he won’t let the players forget that a bowl game is a privilege.
As part of a school-record stretch of seven consecutive bowl appearances, the current OSU players have only experienced finishing the season in the postseason. But there was, of course, a time when that was not the habit. The Cowboys went through bowl droughts from 1989-1996 and from 1998-2001.
“There’s no question that message has been conveyed to the team,” Gundy said. “I coached 11 years without ever getting into a bowl. Never coached on a winning team. So you learn to appreciate winning and being in a bowl game, because, ultimately, that’s the reward for the team and the families and the wives and the children and everybody.”
Dallas-area native Lavey relishing chance to play in Cotton Bowl
The Heart of Dallas Bowl won’t feature nearly the same amount of hubbub that surrounds the Cotton Bowl during the Texas State Fair.
But perhaps the greatest perk of playing in that bowl is the chance to take the field inside one of college football’s most historic stadiums.
Oklahoma State linebacker Caleb Lavey, who grew up near Dallas in the town of Celina, is looking forward to the opportunity.
“It’s a huge stadium, a lot of history,” he said. “I never thought I’d get to (play there), because I didn’t go to Texas or OU, but I’m very excited.”