Gundy said last night in his postgame radio interview that the game was going on prior to kickoff on the field where word of Arizona's players "plans" for Blackmon in the game were filtering down the Cowboys warm-ups on the west end of Boone Pickens Stadium.
Gundy said two things really impressed him about Blackmon during the game, and these were above and beyond his 12 receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns. The first was about a touchdown or at least a long gain that wasn't.
"They throw the deep ball to him and he drops the ball," said Gundy of a second quarter vertical rout where Blackmon didn't hold onto the ball. "He jumps up and runs back as fast as he can to get lined up. No slamming the ground or acting like I'm a great player and I'm supposed to catch that. He just jumped up and ran back tot he line and that is what real football players do because he knows he'll get another chance and he knows he'll make the next play. That is kind of what we talk about as a staff and that is who we want to be as a football team."
The second was directly pertaining to the extra attention and the physical way Arizona defensive backs lined up to take their shots at Blackmon and the way the Cowboys 6-1, 218-pound standout reacted.
"The second thing he did was they flipped that ball out to him and that kid (Shaquille Richardson) blew him up, fired him up," explained Gundy. "I mean how many Biletnikoff and All-Americans, now I'm patting him on the back here, would lay on the ground and act like they're hurt and look at the sidelines and open their arms acting like why did that happen. Not him. He got up and it fired him up and he lifted the crowd up and he looked at their sidelines and said, 'bring it on.' That is Justin Blackmon and that is why anybody that is picking next year, you better get that guy on your team."
Good advice from Gundy that pro scouts should heed. There were plenty of them on hand on Thursday night as besides all the NFL executives that may have been watching from home or their offices, the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills. Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks were all there watching. The Cowboys have plenty of NFL Draft prospects and you obviously know that Blackmon could not be doing what he is without the strong arm and the accuracy of Brandon Weeden.
With all those NFL scouts there it is hard to grasp the description the ESPN broadcast crew had of Oklahoma State. The theme was that the Oklahoma State Cowboys are the best kept secret in college football. We asked Gundy if he thinks his program is still a secret with rankings of seventh and ninth in the country?
"Oh, I think there are still people from coast to coast that don't fel good about us," said Gundy in answering the question. "Maybe they don't feel as good about us as people in the midwest part of the country. Our goal is to be a consistent winner here. There will always be years where you are rebuilding after a three or four-year cycle. Hopefully, we have enough core to be able to win. We have good players here. Playing on a Thursday night give people a chance to see how Weeden can spin it, and how Blackmon can make plays, what those running backs can do, and our offensive line. Those defensive players, you can say what you want, but through three quarters they were pretty good. They gave up a stutter move once in awhile, but Arizona is pretty good on offense too. We're pround of that and I'm proud of Oklahoma State. We need to continue to work hard and build this program."
Gundy was also excited about several other issues. He mentioned that athletic director Mike Holder told him after the game that Oklahoma State was right around 100 season tickets away from reaching the 48,000 mark for season tickets sold for the 2011 season and that number was the capacity of Lewis Field before it was rebuilt, enlarged, and renamed Boone Pickens Stadium. Gundy played and coached many years in that old version of the stadium and in front of crowds much below it's capacity and the current number for season tickets sold in 2011.
Junior weakside linebacker Alex Elkins came out of the game last night on what looked like a very serious knee and ankle injury near the Oklahoma State sideline that saw the promising newcomer get his left leg rolled up by an Arizona player.
The initial exam revealed a slight hyper-extension of the left knee and a slight left ankle sprain. The ankle was taped up and the knee had a sleeve put on it and Elkins returned to the lineup. Gundy said Elkins was due to be examined, as were all Cowboys players that played in the game, before 1 p.m. Gundy was confident that Elkins was fine and would be ready to resume practice on Tuesday.
The Cowboys team finished up the Arizona game this afternoon by attending meetings and watching tape of the contest to learn of corrections and more. Now the players will have Saturday and most of Sunday off before a team meeting and light practice. Monday is also an off day and the players will return on Tuesday to start the heavy work for the Tulsa game.
Brandon Weeden was extremely hot at the start of the Arizona game as he completed his first 13 passes and was 28-of-30 in the first half before throwing two straight incomplete passes to end the half before Quinn Sharp missed a 42-yard field goal. Weeden broke the school record for competions with 42 completions compared to the 34 he had last season against Baylor. He also broke the attempts record with 53 topping the old mark of 50 held by Zac Robinson (2008) and Tony Pounds (1970). Weeden now has 5,309-yards career passing and is on pace to break the record of Zac Robinson (8,317). If he keeps up his current performance level or something close to it, he could break the record around the Baylor or Kansas State games. The great aspect of this is that both those games are in front of the "sea of orange": at Boone Pickens Stadium.