The No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys are a long way from home during the Christmas season, but coach Pat Jones says the team is happy to be in San Diego preparing for Friday's Holiday Bowl game against Wyoming.
He said the team would continue with morning practices through the week and also participate in a number of bowl-related activities. Following a Christmas meal on Sunday, the rest of the time was free."We took a group to the zoo yesterday and will take some to the top gun school tomorrow," Jones said. "We also are going to Sea World and have some kind of luncheon scheduled."
The coach said things would get busier in the week "as more of the bowl functions start up. I think everyone is happy to be here and anxious to get on with the week," Jones said.
Jones also said he thinks an absence of media attention during the Christmas weekend has been relaxing for Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders.
"Everything been slow publicity wise here," Jones said. "He had a two-page feature in the San Diego newspaper, but that was done ahead of time. It's been good for Barry for the last two days. I think it's been relaxing for him."
Jones said he did not immediately know how a number of suspensions and injuries to the No. 15 Wyoming team will affect the game or his preparations.
Wyoming arrived in San Diego without defensive backs Richard Sauls and Ron Dean and hobbled offensive guard Shawn Wehrer and wide receiver Ted Gilmore, who both sustained injuries in Wyoming's 34-10 loss to Houston on Nov. 12.
Sauls was suspended Monday by Wyoming coach Paul Roach for violating team rules, while Dean was suspended indefinitely earlier in the season pending "clarification of an alleged misconduct."
"I know they had some kids hurt all year, but I am unsure what they are talking about," Jones said. "We have a joint news conference scheduled tomorrow and I will know more then."
Wyoming, which received an automatic berth in the Holiday Bowl by winning the Western Athletic Conference title, is led by halfback Dabby Dawson and quarterback Randy Welniak.
Dawson, who played against Sanders in high school in Wichita, Kan., rushed for 1,125 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging nearly 8 yards per carry. Welniak threw for 2,627 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Oklahoma State, paced by Sanders, led the country in scoring with 47 points per game and averaged 512 yards of offense on its way to a 9-2 record. Wyoming, 11-1, averaged 478 yards and 41 points per game.