Sunday Rewind: Cowboys Avert 0-2 Big 12 Start

Some would say that Oklahoma State has had a tough start in Big 12 Conference play with the upset loss at West Virginia and then a scrambling effort to come from behind to beat Kansas State. The Cowboys balanced out their Big 12 record with the win over the Wildcats. OSU's conference record is 1-1, better than Kansas State's 0-2, early Big 12 favorite TCU's 0-2, and West Virginia's 1-2.

"Oh yeah. It's always tough to start off the wrong way in conference play," said Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy in his Sunday evening conference call with the beat reporters covering the team. "You look around and there are guys ... the guy we played against last night is a pretty good coach. They were league champs last year."

Oklahoma State was picked in the summer by the media, in several magazines and by several broadcasters/experts to win the Big 12 this season.

It is easy to see now that the Cowboys, while a good team are not currently at the level where anyone would pick them to win the league. But they are still in a position to compete especially if they can improve on the offensive side of the ball. For that reason the Kansas State win was critical.

"Any time you get in league play you have got to try to take advantage of every game," said Gundy. "I think it's the same for everybody. I think one thing I mentioned in post-game conference is you are going to see a bunch of games like we had last night throughout our league. You are going to see them each week with the parity that is in this league.

"I said this four or five years ago that as we progress with college football the way it is set up now, you are going to see more six-, seven-, and eight-win teams in league play than you ever have before because there is so much parity out there."

Gundy said Saturday that he expects more games, maybe a slew of them, like the one the Cowboys had with the Wildcats. Not always pretty but competitive and down to the wire.

"That is correct. There are five games in our league and you saw three of them this weekend, right? You saw one at Tech, one at Iowa (State), one at OU and one in Stillwater," said Gundy asking back at the reporters. "Pretty much the same, right?"

Gundy was asked a series of questions regarding the offense such as what changes or adjustments can be made to make the offense better? How much injuries have impacted the decline of the explosion of the offense? Which players need to get better so the offense can show more fire power?

Gundy said he is not real comfortable continuing to answer questions that imply his players aren't getting the job done. He said when you have a first-round draft choice in the NFL at quarterback and other NFL guys on the offense then you are going to be really good.

Right now, young players like J.W. Walsh at quarterback are working to get better. Injuries have impacted the offense and receivers Blake Jackson, Austin Hays and Blake Webb missed the game with Kansas State.

"We have guys that are working to get better," answered Gundy. "Can we average 500 yards on offense and 45 points a game every year for the rest of my coaching career here? I don't know. I think it would be considerably difficult. But either way, I really don't know how to answer that question (about the offense) any more.

"I think it's unfair.... Let's just hypothetically set it up. How was Kansas State's offense last night compared to theirs last year? (Considerably different). Why was that? (Because Collin Klein is gone). I think everybody knows the answer and you all keep asking the same questions so I don't really know what to say," continued Gundy.

"You can look at West Virginia. What would your answer be there? (Geno Smith gone). So I don't know why everybody keeps asking that question."

That was about the time I jumped in with my tempo theory on how the offense seemed to be better when going fast, even though there was a concern of going fast all the time with Kansas State being methodical and playing keep away with the ball.

"We thought we were pretty good the way we balanced our tempo in the game," said Gundy. "We've got a few wide receivers that aren't playing right now, so the tempo is not as easy for us when we don't have as much depth at the wide receiver (position), just the history of what we do here on offense.

"A few years ago, when we had all those wide receivers before Hubert (Anyiam) and those guys got hurt that year we were playing fast all the time. And then last year we had some issues with injuries and so we had to slow down.

"And we had a few guys out now. We had three wide receivers that didn't play in this game that are in our two-deep. So we went from eight to five for the most part when you talk about our two-deep, so we just didn't play as fast."

As for defense, the five second-half turnovers were the highlight and Gundy credited some advancement but also some football fortune with the credit.

"I think the defense was in better position than they were. I think you can teach it, I think you can coach it, but half of it is just luck of the draw," said Gundy.

"We worked it hard just like everybody else in the country does. Last year we worked it hard and we didn't get any. Athleticism and running to the football and being fast enough to be around the ball I think helps considerably because if there is a chance to get it you've got a lot of people around it and your percentages go up."

Force five turnovers every game and the proficiency on offense won't be as much an issue. You force five turnovers a game and you will win virtually every game. That is simple and not really up for much debate. Although, with a bye week we can debate it at some time because I'm sure there will be some debating going on.

Next up for the Cowboys is TCU, which should feel a little better after hosting Kansas on Saturday.

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