Sunday Rewind: Gundy, Cowboys Eye Tulsa

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was asked about being recruited by the University of Tulsa when he was an All-State quarterback coming out of Midwest City during his Sunday teleconference with the Cowboy beat reporters. He also was asked about resuming the series with Tulsa and his opinion on it and whether he would like to see the three-game series extended.

Gundy answered all of the questions, but the real issues this week aren't about whether Gundy was recruited by Tulsa or how far in the future he would favor playing the Golden Hurricane. The real issues aren't even about the matchups with the 1-1 Tulsa squad and Todd Graham's team's offense and defense.

Tulsa defeated Bowling Green on Saturday 33-20 and racked up 546 total yards while allowing just 303 yards, and turned the ball over just twice. The problems and solutions for the Cowboys must come from within after a sloppy 41-38 win over Troy moved Gundy's squad to 2-0.

In the Troy win, sensational running back Kendall Hunter had 157 yards rushing to keep him near the top of the NCAA rushing lead as he is second to Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. Hunter did not fumble and played perfect again in scoring two touchdowns.

Now quarterback Brandon Weeden played with a bruised/sprained thumb and fumbled twice and threw two interceptions. Despite showing toughness in playing, Weeden is learning that the grades are tougher when your head coach is a former record setting quarterback.

"I'd say probably a C-plus or a B. Somewhere in that area," said Gundy of Weeden's play so far this season.

As for the thumb injury, Gundy was not allowing for excuses.

"I don't think it was much of a factor," answered Gundy. "It may have affected a couple of his throws but I think he's fine. It gets better every day. I thought his composure and demeanor were really good.

"He'll go through some growing pains. You're not going to play quarterback at this level for the first time and not go through some growing pains. He handled it very well, then went back out and made some plays."

Gundy will definitely see to it that the ball security is better before Tulsa visits Saturday, traveling down the turnpike to Boone Pickens Stadium.

Gundy made it clear that the penalties, in particular the illegal procedures, holding, and special teams infractions like the holding by wide receiver Michael Harrison that nullified Hunter's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Cowboys were penalized for two leg whips, two in one game is interesting, and Gundy felt they must have been there if the officials called them.

It's clean up week for the Cowboys as there was also a face mask on defense and an offsides that cost the Cowboys a valuable interception.

As for the defense, there were plenty of players that got high marks, and one of those was a youngster pressed into starting duty because of the concussion suffered by Andrew McGee in the opener with Washington State.

Freshman Devin Hedgepeth saved two touchdowns, one with a pass breakup in the end zone that forced a field goal and the other a fumble that gave the Cowboys the ball. It was a performace that continues to magnify the significance of the freshman class.

"We feel good about our recruiting (the 2009 class), and we like our class this year," said Gundy. "We feel good about where we're at for next year.

"(Cornerback) is a difficult position to play for a freshman but Devin is tough and intelligent. Football is important to him. When you recruit guys with those three ingredients, it's very key in their effectiveness in playing at this level. We're playing a lot of (freshmen). They're getting more reps than most freshmen would get."

Gundy was really fond of the fumble that Hedgepeth forced.

"I thought it may have been the biggest play because momentum had swung back in (Troy's) favor," said the head coach. "When we got that turnover, we able to get three or four first downs and punt and change the field. Momentum went back in our favor. It may have been the biggest play of the night."

The kind of big plays Gundy would love to see more of next Saturday against Tulsa.

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