One-on-One With Mike Gundy

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was on Sportstalk with Robert Allen and Friends on Triple Play Sports Friday morning for a 20-minute conversation. The Cowboys head coach was asked about several important issues that he'll have to deal with after the 58-14 Heart of Dallas Bowl victory over Purdue earlier this week.

I spoke with Joe Randle at that news conference the bowl held on Monday before the game and he told me he sees the sky being the limit next season, and he hinted he could very well stay. How do you see the situation with Randle especially since he said talking to you will be a major part of his decision process?
Gundy: Well, Joseph is a third-year player, and in my opinion, there are very few guys that are ready for the NFL after three years. It's such a different game than in college for a lot of reasons, (such as) maturity, durability, just experience, age with the male body.

I would recommend that Joe come back and pursue his degree and be a part of our team unless he is what is considered a top-15 pick in the first round. We have had top-15 picks in the first round come back anyway. For example, Justin Blackmon could very well have been that way and Russell Okung maybe could have been top 15 after his junior year.

The information I give them is based on what the NFL provides them. They are very accurate on what their draft status would be. Then it usually falls a little lower than that. One thing that I noticed last night in watching the game (Fiesta Bowl) is there is a considerably large number of players coming out across the country.

When you are a junior, your draft status is based on those other juniors not coming out early. If there are 6, 8, 12, 15 other juniors coming out early you don't get another form that re-figures your draft status. In years past that means that knocks you down another round or two based on if they are ranked higher than you are.

Sometimes there is a number of guys that come out and sometimes there are not. It doesn't even have to be at your position because you have to figure all those guys into the same draft whether it is a wide receiver or a corner or quarterback or d-lineman. Those guys have to fit in somewhere so that could push a guy further back.

I think it is best for Joe to come back if he feels comfortable with that situation but he has to make that decision. We have been through this with a number of guys with the two (Brandon Weeden and Blackmon) from a couple of years ago, Russell (Okung), (Brandon) Pettigrew and they have to make that decision.

One thing that has held true is there has not been a player from Oklahoma State, and I would say from a large percentage of the other schools, that come back that lower their draft status. They almost always improve it.

I know you don't enjoy it, although you have been very good with it, but you have to hire another offensive coordinator. I came up with about 30 names from the NFL and college that I would want to talk to if I were you. Now you're into that and how will that go?
Gundy: Again, it is moving slow but fast as 22 percent of the NFL head coaches got fired last Monday, and so what that means for college coaches that are hiring coordinator positions is that there is more movement than there has been the last five or six years when I have done this twice before or how ever many times I've done it. I've lost track.

Again, I just have to sit and watch and see how everybody gets played and where they land. Now if Chip Kelly (Oregon) moves, then that will trigger more movement at our level. There is just a long process. Some guys may hire quick. Mack Brown at Texas may hire a guy the next week.

We are all different in the way we handle those situations. There will be so many quality coaches that are in the NFL that will drop down to a coordinator position in college that will move around over the next two to three weeks. I prefer to wait and I am more comfortable with seeing those guys get slotted in where I think they're going to be and then make the decision that I think is best for Oklahoma State.

(Editor's Note: Atlanta Falcons quarterback coach Glen Thomas would have to be a prime candidate. The Texas Tech graduate was a student coach for the Red Raiders and got an early indoctrination to the Mike Leach offense. He went on to coach at Midwestern State in Wichita Falls from 2001-07, including serving as offensive coordinator from 2005-07. He has been with the Falcons for five seasons including the last two as quarterbacks coach and working with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who was the offensive coordinator with Todd Monken at Jacksonville. Thomas has been around the major influences in the construction of the offense at Oklahoma State.)

Bill Young (defensive coordinator) had a good time in the bowl game. I saw him walking of the field with a lot of pep in his step. I know there has been talk of him possibly retiring, but he didn't look like a coach ready to retire. What have you gained from talking to Coach Young?
Gundy: I think Bill needs to evaluate where he is at. We can talk about this but he is the only one that knows where he is at. I'm sure age plays a factor in this and health. His health seems fine since he came back. He was away from us for a couple of weeks at the start of the season.

The defense was teriffic in the game (against Purdue) and we're back to what we have done the past couple of years. We played really fast, kept our head up, tackled well, played physical, and forced turnovers. Then when that starts to happen, the offense takes advantage with quick strike plays and when that happens we become a very difficult team to handle.

What needs to happen offensively in the offseason and what will play in the quarterback decision?
Gundy: We need to re-evaluate our offense in the offseason and improve. We need to decide what kind offense we are going to be and what kind of tempo we want to run. How can we be better than we've been over the last three years?

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