Sunday Rewind: Trying To Piece It Together

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was a little late to his own Sunday teleconference with the media. Oklahoma State associate athletic director for media relations Kevin Klintworth had to track him down, likely in a football meeting room before Gundy broke the hold message of Dave Hunziker highlight calls. "Coach Gundy here. This is Coach Gundy," said the voice.

Gundy's voice had not changed. It didn't sound weak or dejected. You didn't sense a lack of confidence, or for that matter any overconfidence.

Oklahoma State won a game on Saturday at Kansas 20-14. For Gundy, although it did not come up in the teleconference, it was his 62nd coaching victory which ties him with former OSU head coach Pat Jones as the winningest coach in Oklahoma State history. Gundy has accomplished that in just seven season and five games. It took Jones 12 seasons to hit that mark.

Gundy has done very well with progressing to the point that he knows how to run his program, the best way to run it, and typically what it needs to move forward. So, he was not at a loss for words when he was immediately asked about offensive coordinator Todd Monken blaming himself and his play calls for the lack of offensive production in the less than expected win over the last-place Jayhawks.

"It was multiple things," started Gundy with his answer. "It was a young quarterback (J.W. Walsh) starting on the road for the first time. We had limits that had to do with personnel missing because of injuries. It was raining and the ball was wet."

All of those are items that would be alarming with a quarterback that was inexperienced and is not real accomplished at this stage in throwing the ball downfield. The Cowboys were conservative, especially late with a lead and less than ideal field position.

"I would agree that our plan was fine," said Gundy. "We didn't have any rhythm and we didn't really call the plays we wanted to because of it."

Gundy told the media after the game that he thought Kansas was more physical up front in the battle at the line of scrimmage throughout the game. He was asked if the look at the video confirmed that.

"I still would say that they played harder than we did up front," he said.

Gundy was blunt when asked about the factors that go into what is going on with his team right now, especially injuries (a lot of them) and the inexperience those injuries cause at key positions.

"We are in a different situation right now than we've been in," said Gundy. "We understand our strengths and weaknesses and how we have to play to our strengths to move the football.

"We have a number of guys (on the trip to Kansas) that couldn't help us in that game. It's the most we've had in a long time, maybe in my time as head coach."

Gundy said that with Wes Lunt and now with J.W. Walsh, the team has had good success with the two freshman quarterbacks, better than most freshman quarterbacks breaking into Division I and especially Big 12 football. He did say that J.W. Walsh was just average on Saturday.

Saying there is more parity than ever before in college football and the Big 12 and the others pretty competitive, including Oklahoma State, that a pretty good team in the conference could only win seven or eight games for their entire season.

"We're like everybody else and go play week to week," said Gundy, who endorsed a statement made late Saturday night by current ESPN College Football Final analyst Lou Holtz that as a college football coach you have a different team (in your own) each week.

"I think it is very true," said Gundy. "The most difficult part of coaching is keeping them focused week to week and avoiding distractions. It can be something at home, academics, girlfriends, even babies.

"Then you go play, injuries play a big factor, and those may push immature players in the game that aren't ready. It is great for the fans and makes for very exciting league play and play in general across the country. Those teams that win 11, 12 games, go through unscathed and dominating the conference, those days are gone."

For Gundy and his staff it is back to work on Sunday looking to find a way to win homecoming Saturday against Iowa State. One thing that might help is the possible return of Wes Lunt, which would make it a mini-freshman homecoming at quarterback.

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