These are the days Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy warned about.
Well into preseason workouts, now is the time when weary legs and bodies and mental fatigue can take a toll. And it's a time that can define roles or even playing time for younger players.
“This week is a grind,” Gundy said. “Everyone in the country is going through it. They've been out there for a week and a half and fatigue sets in with the early morning wakeups. And getting to bed at 10 (p.m.), it's a full day.
“There is some wear and tear. These are the practices that are the most crucial. Young players who want to play in the first game have to make it through these next four or five days. And then the veteran players have to push through in order to practice at a high level that gives us the best chance to win.”
Said senior defensive tackle Calvin Barnett: “This is where it comes in to be mentally tough. Of course you're going to be fatigued, a lot of people on the team will be banged up and your body is starting to wear down on you. So this is the part where the mental toughness comes in because you can see the end, but you have to keep working hard.”
Following a ragged return to the practice field on Monday, Gundy said Tuesday's morning workout was an improvement.
“We had an enthusiastic workout,” he said. “It was a better day. Yesterday was pretty average, but today was very good and very competitive.”
COUNTING QBS: 1, 2 … 3?
The quarterback battle remains hush-hush at OSU, with Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh still competing for the starting job.
Senior receiver Tracy Moore doesn't seem to mind who's behind center. And considers the Cowboys three-deep again, apparently throwing Daxx Garman into the mix.
“They are all pretty good,” Moore said. “We have three good ones.”
FOCUS TURNING TO BULLDOGS
Cowboys coaches have admitted to looking at Mississippi State video since back in the summer.
And they've been impressed.
“They have an experienced quarterback, running back, offensive line,” said OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “They could bring in another quarterback and run some option. Coach Gundy is doing a good job giving us time in camp to prepare for them.”
Gundy on the revelation that safety Zack Craig is dating a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, who attended Saturday's scrimmage:
“I didn't have a clue, until somebody told me there was a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader at our scrimmage. Of course, when I look down there, they all look the same to me. There's a bunch of cute girls down there. I joke with the team that it's nice they all come out to watch me coach.”