Gundy Addresses Twitter Leaks On Injuries

STILLWATER - One of the things that Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has tried his best to accomplish is to protect his players by being extremely judicious about revealing information on player injuries. That effort has been compromised in the first week of fall camp this season. At the end of Thursday's practice he addressed it with his team and the support personnel in the program.

On his terms in the past Gundy would generally make an announcement on a season-ending injury after the player had been treated medically and was on his way toward the lengthy rehab.

If it was an injury that would keep a player down for a shortened period of time or that a player was going to play through, then Gundy, himself, and at his intructions, his staff and the football support staff keep totally quiet about it. There are a bunch of reasons for this.

Some coaches like to tell you that they are subject to the same HIPAA regulations that medical professionals are. That is actually not true. The main reason is it gives an advantage to opponents. If your opposition on Saturday knows who is injured and what their injury is then they can attack it from both an individual standpoint and a competitive standpoint.

While Gundy would like to control the information coming out of his camp, he has long known that social networking, and the large number of students and people involved in the football program, can make it very difficult to keep secrets. Still, he didn't think that it would be his very own players, even injured players, breaking the news via Twitter.

Below is the most recent example as Jimmy Bean, a sophomore defensive end out of Denton (Guyer), Texas, suffered a knee injury in drills on Sunday. Bean has tweeted about his injury several times out in the Twitter world for anybody to pick up on.

Being in surgery in Oklahoma City and not in Stillwater to hear Gundy's address to his team Thursday, Bean was still able to communicate with the masses on his surgery.

jimmy bean? @ j_bean92 Blessed!! The news I just got about my knee

Other Twitter traffic may have come from sources that are players. James Poling is a budding student journalist who is the sports editor of The O'Collegian. Opps, James may have forgotten that freshmen are not allowed to be interviewed or quoted by the media. He might have wanted to use that popular "unnamed source" or "anonymous player" on the following Twitter message.

James Poling? @ James_Poling So # OkState Torrance Carr is getting surgery tomorrow, according to incoming freshman Blake Webb. Injury unknown, sounds recent though DE Jimmy Bean tweets he's having surgery on torn ACL tomorrow; source says WR Torrance Carr's surgery tomorrow is minor.

Kelly Hines from The Tulsa World has been burning the Twitter candle at both ends.

Kelly Hines? @ KellyHinesTW Recap: DE Jimmy Bean tweets he's having surgery on torn ACL tomorrow; source says WR Torrance Carr's surgery tomorrow is minor. # okstate

Now, none of the reporters involved here can be blamed for using the information that was simply fed to them. They were rewarded for being more advanced or avid about social networking.

However, after the Gundy address following practice Thursday morning that one witness told me was emphatic and very stern, the social networking on injuries and team business is expected to dry up for some time.

The head coach was very serious in warning players about giving away information that others were trying to protect for the players' own welfare. He was also very serious in addressing others with the program that they had better not reveal team information.

On some items the news is out. Obviously, Bean did have surgery and is expected to miss two to three weeks. Freshman linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Red-shirt freshman wide receiver Torrance Carr had surgery as well, and he will be out two or three weeks.

Now for the practice on Thursday there was plenty of work on all phases of the game. The full pads practice included a spirited inside drill and good competition between the receivers and defensive backs in both one-on-one drills and seven-on-seven.

The team period focused on both run and pass offense and defense. The competition is pretty good between the receivers, both veteran and new, and the safeties and corners, both veteran and new.

On the defensive side,we've seen a lot more of Shamiel Gary, who is running first team with Daytawion Lowe at safety.

"Of course, Daytawion Lowe is leading the pack," said safeties coach Van Malone in his first fall camp as an Oklahoma State assistant coach. "He did that throughout the spring. Behind him is Zack Craig, with Larry Stephens in the mix as well.

"On the other side, trying to replace Markelle Martin are Lavocheya Cooper and Shamiel Gary running neck and neck. The last couple days, Shamiel's gotten a few more reps and has really capitalized on those opportunities. It's like I told them in the spring – it's a competition in the spring, it's a competition in the fall.

"Even though I say right now Daytawion Lowe is out front, the minute somebody starts to produce and surpasses him, they'll be rolling with the first team. That's kind of the way it's looking now. For injury and insurance purposes, we've moved Larry Stephens over to working with the safeties. It's not a permanent move, but he's done a good job of stepping up and showing some physicality and the ability to play safety."

Talking more about Gary, he is a former Tulsa Washington standout who went to Wyoming and earned The Sporting News Freshman All-American honors with those other Cowboys. He then realized that he wanted to be back closer to home and transferred, sitting out last season.

"He has experience, he has football savvy, he's an aggressive player," said Malone of Gary. "Off the field, he studies just as much as anybody in our program and the fact that he came here with a little bit of experience, that's exciting for us."

Cornerback coach Jason Jones has two very talented veterans in All-American Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert, the player that tied Brown for the team lead last season in interceptions.

Jones concern is more depth and back-ups. He has red-shirt freshmen Miketavius Jones and Jonovan Griffin who are being challenged by freshmen Kevin Peterson of Wagoner, Okla., and Ashton Lampkin out of Fort Worth, Texas. The two pups are big and physical so far.

"Devin (Hedgepeth) is trying to come back, but the four guys were are focusing in on are Jones, Griffin, Peterson, and Lampkin, and I've been surprised by what I've seen from Peterson and Lampkin," said Jason Jones. "Both of those young men have come in and worked their tails off. They have good strength and they challenged every day and they hold their own. Both of those guys are mature for freshmen."

One more added story to the secondary for this upcoming season is Zack Craig, who has contributed every season he's been at OSU. But this season is seemingly sitting on a big year. He seems more ready to be a major player for the 2012 season.

"The thing I really like about Zack is that he has really good size. He can run," said Malone. "What we try to do is that we don't try to overload him with learning different positions. You kind of have to be transitional when you're operating, but we try to keep him in one position and as we've done that, he's more aggressive.

"He lets his physical attributes like speed and jumping ability – he's got to continue to work on his ball skills – but the things that he's really good at, when he's able to play and not do a lot of thinking, then he does a good job for us."

The next 48 hours will be challenging as the team practices twice Friday. The usual morning practice will be in full pads and then on Friday afternoon they will be back in helmets, shorts, and shoulder pads for another practice at 6 p.m.

At 6 p.m. Saturday the team will go through the first scrimmage of fall camp on the grass practice fields. All practices and scrimmages are closed to the public.


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