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.”