Gundy Is A Rock Star With Big 12 Media

DALLAS, Texas – You really could tell Tuesday during Big 12 Media Days that Mike Gundy was treated a little differently and the media acts a little differently around him following the 2011 Big 12 championship season. Gundy is now a "made man" in the Big 12, and the Cowboys are a power and not just a contender.

Heading into this season, though, you can divide all the teams into two categories. Those with established quarterbacks like Geno Smith at West Virginia, Casey Pachall at TCU, Landry Jones at OU, and Collin Klein at Kansas State.

Then there are the programs with a quarterback competition or a young unestablished quarterback. Gundy couldn't get away from any interview without being asked how youngster Wes Lunt is progressing. The thing is Gundy has spent his summer chasing other youngsters in his three sons. "It's interesting. I haven't seen him in six weeks, eight weeks," said Gundy of Lunt. "I'm in and out of the office, and those guys are down at the bottom level training and throwing and going through strength and conditioning. And I know he's been in the room studying tape. But I haven't really spent a lot of time around him. We're not allowed to. So I'm looking forward to getting somewhat reacquainted with him in the first weeks in August."

This Friday Cowboys running back Joseph Randle will follow in the footsteps of his head coach when he heads to Bristol, Conn., and the ESPN headquarters to do the ESPN "carwash" that Gundy did last summer.

Gundy feels good with Randle being the face of the program. "He should handle it well. He's been involved with Oklahoma State football now for three years," explained Gundy.

"And so we have a certain way that we like to carry ourselves, and we talk about team being first and the success of our group. And I'm confident that Joe will handle it the right way. And he just has to remember that if not, then things can go the other direction. As soon as you think you've arrived and established, there will be somebody waiting to knock you off. And I'm sure he understands that."

Randle and some of the other experienced players come up again in Gundy's conversation when the Cowboys head coach is asked about who will lead the team in the absence of Brandon Weeden, who was the oldest quarterback in college football a year ago.

"The veteran players, again, when we have our final meetings before summer break, the players practice on their own, just like everybody else in the country. The Joe Randles, the Jeremy Smiths, Justin Gilberts, Brodrick Browns, Lane, all those guys, Cooper Bassetts, they have to lead the way," said Gundy.

"And then Wes Lunt is put in the situation that he has to structure and organize how things go during those workouts. But the veteran players have to be the ones to say, 'You're going to be on time. This is what we're going to accomplish. This is what we've done the last few years.'"

Gundy has a good team and nobody, including Gundy, expects the Cowboys to fall off the face of the conference. He may be a made-man, but as he likes to say if you don't keep it going and keep winning games then you can just as easily become un-made.

"We're at a point now that you win 41 games, or whatever it's been in four years, and 23 games in two years, that, to a certain extent, over that period of time that we've established ourselves as being a quality program," said Gundy.

"Now, myself, our coaching staff, and our players understand that that's short lived if you're not willing to put the time and effort and the work in that we have over that period of time. But from a recruiting standpoint, from a fan support, season-ticket sales, selling suites, things that all factor into the success of football team, football program, athletic department, they should understand and believe that as long as we continue to work hard and do the right things, we'll have that opportunity."

The opportunity starts on Aug. 2 when the team reports, and in earnest on Aug. 3 when practice begins. It's a new season and those wins from last season can't transfer to this fall.

The Cowboys say they are not worried about having to earn it all again. Gundy is a Big 12 "rock star" among coaches and his air guitar is seemingly pretty strong. He knows how to plays some strong riffs.

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