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OSU Continues Toward ‘Cutting Edge’ in Detailed Approach



Imagine football in a decade.

With all of the intricacies of the game — the diets, the workout regimens, the equipment — the sport has already become more of a race to innovation rather than just a game. Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph said that trend is only just starting to take off.

“If you can come up with something that’s in the sports medicine world and you can sell it to how many other Division I programs there are in America, you’re gonna make a whole lot of money,” Rudolph said.

OSU has teamed with RISE, a sleep coaching program, to monitor the players’ rest patterns, heart rates and quality of sleep. The subject puts a ribbon-like sensor beneath his or her mattress, and the data is sent directly to the coaches’ emails the following morning for evaluation.

Rudolph said investing in sleep is the best way to go about making sure the guys are well-rested and prepared.

“There’s a lot of scientific research and a lot of data that backs up performance and reaction time,” he said. “It’s the best recovery. You can get in an ice tub and get a massage all you want, but your sleep is the best recovery tool in the history of mankind.”

Rudolph said the Cowboys have been using a number of other innovations in sports medicine and health, including vibrating muscle rollers, electromagnetic beds and $9 light-blocking glasses on Amazon, which makes OSU an unlikely trendsetter in the industry. He said he is sure that’s not the case at other places.

“I’m sure there are coaches that are old-school,” Rudolph said. “Gundy’s so good about being on the cutting edge. He’s old-school to an extent, but he’s gotten very knowledgable and taken care of our bodies and how much is too much in practice.”

Gundy said he has cut offseason practice times down 40 percent from five years ago, and said that is still too much work. He also noted that, for example, the wide receivers are doing close to 30 percent less work this fall than last fall. That’s partly because there are so many of them, but the fact that Oklahoma State actually tracks such a thing sort of conveys the entire point.

“We try and soften things on their body, but you always worry about that,” Gundy said. “At this point, we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve stayed healthy.”

A lot of that cutback in practice time was the NCAA’s doing, though Gundy said the Cowboys were already self-imposing a day off (now two days off this fall) and said they are continuing to spend less and less time on the field or in the weight room.

Rudolph said the move from the days of Remember the Titans and the whole “water makes you weak” mantra toward a more refined football is a smart one. With all the resources and detail in preparation, he said it’s already unbelievable.

“It’s the total product here at Oklahoma State in every wing of our culture,” Rudolph said. “Whether it’s training staff or equipment or strength staff, they’re all trying to take care of us to the utmost degree.”

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