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Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press

Running back Dominic Richardson (20) had to leave the Big 12 Championship game early, but he is recovering from the late-season wear and tear. Coach Mike Gundy said Richardson is doing well. 

After dealing with wear and tear at the end of the season, the Oklahoma State football team is recuperating during its 27-day break between games.

When the Cowboys lost to Baylor in the Big 12 Championship, their offensive depth had dwindled. Star running back Jaylen Warren was dressed in uniform but sidelined – “not capable of playing today, physically,” in the words of coach Mike Gundy. Second-string rusher Dominic Richardson had to leave the game early. Center Danny Godlevske was still unavailable, missing his third straight matchup after his injury against TCU.

Now, the Cowboys have a chance to recover from those ailments before facing Notre Dame on New Year’s Day in the Fiesta Bowl. As of Monday afternoon, Gundy said Warren and Richardson are doing well. Josh Sills, OSU’s left guard who battled through late-season injuries, will also be available for the bowl game, Gundy said.

Godlevske’s status is less certain. Gundy said Godlevske has been wearing a boot and expected to get it removed Thursday. From there, he has to ease back into his routine.

“He starts movement, side to side, weight bearing,” Gundy said. “Could he (play)? Yes. Probable? Ehh, I don’t know. He could be practicing at bowl time, let’s put it that way.”

Without Godlevske, the Cowboys have turned to redshirt sophomore Joe Michalski as their starting center.

Gundy wants to keep early signing period

Mike Gundy doesn’t have a problem with the early signing period.

If anything, it could be earlier, he said.

After 17 recruits inked their national letters of intent Wednesday to play for the Cowboys, Gundy shared his perspective on the debate surrounding the timeline for signees.

“It’s good where it is, and quite honestly, they should have a July signing day,” Gundy said.

Gundy advocated for three signing days: one in July, one in December and one in February. By the end of July, the Cowboys had 13 commits in their 2022 class.

With a summer signing day, schools could avoid devoting so much money to airplanes, hotels, and other recruiting expenses, Gundy said. The frequent visits wouldn’t be necessary if the athletes had already signed.

Gundy declared that some large universities support the idea of pushing back signing day so they can “get back in late and cheat.”

That isn’t the only factor at play. Many opponents of the current Early Signing Day are concerned about its timing. Programs are scrambling to have stability by the December signing period, resulting in a flurry of coaching changes before the end of the season. The bumped-up signing day leads universities to fire coaches early, creating midseason mayhem, critics argue.

How would Gundy address that issue?

“Don’t fire head coaches during the season,” Gundy said. “That solves the problem.”

Cowboys talk ‘Rudy,’ Notre Dame traditions

Defensive end Tyler Lacy had to emphasize an important point when it was his turn to speak into the microphone.

Unlike starting quarterback Spencer Sanders, Lacy has seen the classic football film “Rudy.”

“The first time I watched that movie, I was busting out crying,” Lacy said. “...I don’t think it’s overrated.”

During a Monday afternoon media availability, the movie emerged as a lighthearted topic of discussion, serving as the centerpiece of a larger conversation about Notre Dame traditions. The Cowboys are preparing to face the Fighting Irish for the first time, and this matchup is meaningful to Lacy.

Although Lacy is from Sachse, Texas, he is familiar with Notre Dame’s rich history – including the cinematic depiction of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, based on the real-life underdog’s journey to playing for the Fighting Irish.

“Especially growing up, everybody knows Notre Dame and the gold helmets,” Lacy said. “It’s just an honor to actually play them in a game, especially a bowl game.”

Notre Dame has plenty of defining traits, from the iconic fight song to the on-campus mural dubbed “Touchdown Jesus.” Although Sanders didn’t claim to follow Notre Dame as closely as Lacy has, he is aware of the program’s talent and said he expects a great matchup.

Forgive him for not watching “Rudy.” The movie was released six years before he was born.

“No disrespect,” Sanders said. “...I was outside and just not watching TV as a kid.”

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