Kevin Peterson wanted to show his teammates, as he put it, “the country life.”
So the Oklahoma State cornerback and a handful of other Cowboy football players made the more than 100-mile drive east this offseason from Stillwater to Wagoner, Peterson’s hometown. What followed was an outdoor adventure highlighted by a float trip.
“We were out there for tons of hours,” wide receiver Jhajuan Seales said.
The group included Peterson, Seales, defensive end Trace Clark, defensive tackle Eric Davis and linebacker Seth Jacobs. It’s tradition on these trips to tackle your friends into the water, Peterson said. But at some point, Davis, Clark and Jacobs tossed the others from the raft entirely.
“And those rafts are almost impossible to flip over,” Peterson laughed. “It was funny.”
The vacation’s purpose was mostly an opportunity to unwind as the grind of fall camp neared. But considering the players who attended and their expected roles this season, it meant just a bit more.
“It’s important having great chemistry,” Seales said. “And knowing who you can count on.”
Seales, a sophomore, and Peterson, a junior, enter 2014 with the most experience of those on the trip. They’ve appeared in a combined 38 games and figure to be the No. 1 options at their respective positions for the first time this season.
Defensive linemen Clark, a junior, and Davis, a sophomore, played sparingly last year. That’s expected to change in 2014 since OSU lost starters Calvin Barnett and Tyler Johnson.
And Jacobs, a sophomore, figures to be in the mix for a starting linebacker spot after appearing in just six games in 2013.
The float trippers figure their bond outside football translates to a closer group on the field.
“We collectively teach and learn from each other, because we’re a young team all over,” Peterson said. “We’re trying to come together as a team and figure everything out.”
Coach Mike Gundy was peppered with questions last week about his team’s youth and inexperience at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas.
“We've got a ways to go, and I've always felt like the only way that players could get good quality experience is game day,” Gundy said. “So we'll have a number of players that will be on the field for the first time and hopefully as the season progresses they'll mature and get better in each practice and each game.”
All the more reason to spend as much time together developing the needed chemistry to be successful on the field, Seales said. Like the other float trippers, he will be thrust into the spotlight in 2014.
“It’s a little surreal,” Seales said. “It happened fast.”