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Bowl practices give young Oklahoma State players chance to contribute

Gina Mizell Modified: January 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm •  Published: December 20, 2013

Oklahoma State’s bowl practices are primarily designed to prepare for the Cowboys’ Cotton Bowl contest against Missouri.

But they’re also about giving some younger players — particularly, those who are redshirting this season and on the scout team — occasional reps to help propel the Cowboys into the 2014 season. OSU loses six starters on offense and seven on defense from the 2013 squad.

Cowboy coach Mike Gundy said the coaches take about 10 to 15 minutes each practice to work with those underclassmen.

“It’s fun to watch them,” Gundy said, “because they get to play when it counts, not just as a demonstration squad.”

In an informal survey of various players and coaches, young Cowboys who have impressed during bowl practices so far include offensive lineman Zachary Crabtree, defensive end Vili Leveni, defensive backs Darius Curry, Jerel Morrow and linebacker Dawson Bassett. Two safeties who have played as true freshmen, Deric Robertson and Jordan Sterns, have also showed up.

“We’ve had a number of guys that have stood out and made plays,” Gundy said. “Those guys have to have a great offseason in January and February in winter conditioning to show up so they can be healthy and practice in the spring. Because they’ll have to play in the first game (of 2014).”