Happy 46th, Coach Gundy

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy celebrated his 46th birthday on Monday. Gundy celebrated with a two-a-day practice schedule and was in a very good mood during the morning workout. Of course, many folks were in a joking mood in wishing Gundy a happy birthday with the trademark phrase from his now famous rant of "I'm a man, I'm 40."

The more impressive aspect of Gundy's birthday should be that of those 46 years he has spent exactly half of his life as either a student-athlete, assistant coach or head coach at Oklahoma State.

Gundy's head coaching record is the best in school history with 67 wins and 35 losses. His record as a starting quarterback at Oklahoma State is 28 wins and 14 losses. He really should have one more win from his senior season as he was injured and did not start the homecoming game against Kansas State, but he came in the second half and led a successful comeback against the Wildcats.

His record as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at OSU is rough as that came during the final Pat Jones' seasons and the Cowboys were crushed by NCAA probation. He was also an assistant under Bob Simmons during his first season as head coach. Oklahoma State was 18-47-3 during that six-year period.

Gundy will tell you he learned as much during those rough seasons as he did at Baylor, Maryland, and back at Oklahoma State under Les Miles before becoming head coach. Under Miles, Gundy was 28-21 as the offensive coordinator before becoming head coach.

Second Practice
The Cowboys came out at 6 p.m. for the second of the two practices. After going in full pads for the first practice, the second workout was in helmets, spider pads, and shorts. The evening workout was a mix of special team install, walk-thrus on offense and defense and a little drill work. The team was off the field shortly after 7:30 p.m. and heading to training table.

Gary's Play Allows Johnson Move
A number of Oklahoma State fans have made inquiries and others have simply made statements of disbelief that Lyndell Johnson, moved from "star" linebacker to strong safety in the spring, has now been moved to free safety where senior Daytawion Lowe tops the depth chart.

The Cowboys will need a future free safety to quarterback the defense and Johnson is a player who can be featured on defense in a lot of situational moves. You can count the move of the 6-3, 215-pound Johnson to strong safety in the spring as a success.

Shamiel Gary is now playing at the highest level since transferring from Wyoming after putting in two strong seasons including a freshman season where he earned freshman All-American honors from The Sporting News.

Last season, Gary had 72 tackles with two interceptions, four passes defended, and a fumble caused. Gary had decided after 192 tackles in his first two seasons at Wyoming that he needed to do better at OSU.

"I mean, competition always brings out the best in people, but I would say for myself that lit the fire but after last season I knew that I could play way better than that," said Gary, who was an All-State player and a state champion at Tulsa Washington.

"You know he (Johnson) is one of the top safeties in the nation and I knew coming into the spring that I had to improve in a lot of areas. I took that motivation that I had to get better in the spring and in the summer and put all my effort into working on my craft."

Gary had already made his mind up before Johnson's move to his position and that will serve him well now that Johnson is at the other safety.

"That was my plan to begin with and then him coming there (to the position) just enforced it," added Gary.

The best motivator for Gary and every player at every position on the defense are the changes in the defense.

"Coach (Glenn) Spencer wants us to be more aggressive, wants us to be tighter, wants us to compete on the ball," explained Gary of the new defense. "You know that is everything that I was planning on doing anyway. Having someone tell you that really puts your mind frame on doing that. In the spring I was trying to do it and we're getting better at doing it right now."

Mixing Up the Practice Uniforms
Head of equipment Wes Edwards and his staff have to check out all the equipment on players during fall camp so they are ready for the games. The evening practice had the Cowboys in the (flat) black helmets.

Wearing each of the different helmets allows the players to check and make sure there are no problems. The orange helmets will get a run-thru during camp as well. The first-year players were pretty fired up to try out the black helmets.

Cruse-ing In
With an open position on the 105-man camp roster with the absence of kicker Bobby Stonebraker, former Northeastern Oklahoma A&M defensive tackle Deonte Cruse was called and asked to arrive in Stillwater.

Cruse has to go through NCAA Acclimatization and will be in helmet and shoulder pads on Wednesday and Thursday, and will be in full pads for the first time on Friday in time for the scrimmage on Saturday.

The 6-1, 295-pound Cruse was a starter for NEO A&M's regular season conference champions in the SWJCFC last season.

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