Did you have more holes to fill on your team this spring than the last several years and how did the players step up to fill those holes?
Gundy: Well, certainly we do. We had 28 seniors that were on our team that departed, and then Josh Stewart came out early and we lost two linemen, one is going to law school and the other has a good job in Houston with one of them being our starting center.
We are a very, very young football team and we have a lot of young guys that made plays this spring but we have a long way to go to develop players. We'll have 60 to 70 percent of our team that will be playing to start the season that really has never played college football. They've been in our organization but they've never been out there in the heat of the battle. It will take some time to develop but hopefully, as we get into the season we can get them some experience and we will feel more confident in their maturity and their ability to make plays in certain situations.
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How big of a challenge is it for you and your coaching staff working with this young group?
Gundy: Well, you go through it every few years or so. I've been coaching 25 years and I've never been at a school that had as much tradition that they had top five recruiting classes each year and they were on a level that they didn't have to develop players. I've always coached at schools where every few years or so we had to develop young players and we are in that cycle at this time. The good thing about having 28 seniors last year is you had that maturity and that experience. The bad thing is they move on and you have to start over the next year and that is kind of where our football team is at that point.
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With all the talk about the Northwestern situation, do you consider your players employees of the university?
Gundy: I don't have enough information on that to really even comment. I haven't followed that situation very close.
Translation: I'm not commenting on that one. Coaches are in a tough situation in this scenario as they ARE employees and are compensated well. While the coaches are all for players getting treated the best they can be going as far as unionizing and bargaining is tough for a coach to get into. Gundy has fought for better facilities and better treatment at OSU. He has limited tackling and even hitting some in practice and kept practices tight time-wise.
There has also been talk about the time commitment players put in. When you were a player what did you do during your summers?
Gundy: We didn't have nearly the time commitment that these guys do these days. They put in a tremendous amount of work not just during the season but in the offseason, the organized workouts by themselves for their summer conditioning, their practices, their seven on (sevens), their drill work.
When we are in school we had some offseason workouts, some running, and we hung out at the pool and didn't put near the time in that they do. There is a tremendous amount of strain, time, and effort that is put into these players not only physically but mentally year round.
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Are you comfortable with the time that these players are putting in now?
Gundy: I think it is a choice that they make. They go out in the summer and they put their time in. They want to be successful. I think it is a great teaching tool for them with life. When they get out there in the real world and you are only going to get out what you put into something. These guys are learning structure, accountability, learning that hard work pays off, so I think it benefits them for the rest of their life.
Translation: Yes, they work hard but it's not like they aren't learning and getting something out of it. Doing this probably puts them ahead of a lot of young men that don't learn the principles of hard work, goal setting, and being a part of something bigger than themselves.
You said that J.W. Walsh was ahead of the other quarterbacks during the spring, so are you ready to name Walsh as the starter at quarterback or is this competition going to go into the summer and the fall?
Gundy: We had a really good competition throughout the spring and it will continue on. We had three players, Daxx Garman, who has been in our program had a really good spring. He missed the last three practices with an injury. We had the freshman that was here, Mason Rudolph, that was learning and getting better each day. Those three guys need to compete. They need to put their time and effort in during the offseason and develop their leadership skills with the conditioning and with the team and then we'll let them go at it the first 15 days of fall camp.
Translation: No, I'm not naming the starter at quarterback. You're lucky I'm talking this much about it.
How is Garman doing? There was a scare at first that it might be serious. I guess it's not so serious.
Gundy: Yes, they're all doing fine.
Translation: I talked about the quarterbacks and now you ask about injuries. I never talk about injuries.
What about Tyreek Hill? Have you had a guy as fast or faster then him, and what kind of role can he fill next season?
Gundy: He is very fast and he is at a different level speed-wise than anybody I've ever coached. His attitude has been really good and we are trying to find ways to get him the ball on offense and in the return game. We should be able to hand it to him, pitch it to him, and try to use his speed and ability to help our football team based on how fast he develops and learns to deal with the physical part and the mental aspects of the game at our level.
Translation: Get ready because this cat can burn it. The faster he learns the plays and proves he can take hits, and secure the football, the faster we can get after it.
Looking ahead to the playoff format, what do you think is going to be the difference in trying to get a program into the playoff versus the two team BCS game?
Gundy: I don't think anything really changes. I think now four teams get an opportunity to play for a national championship. I think, I've said this many times, I think the BCS system worked for the time we had it. It wasn't always perfect and it may not have always got the two best teams there, but at least we had a formula and a plan going into the season.
I think with four teams now that it is going to make it more exciting. I've said this time and time again, I think the stock market in college football has gone through the roof. The coverage and the publicity from all you guys now that are talking college football, 24/7, 365 days and not only on the radio but on the television, that the four teams are going to draw more interest and eventually it will go to eight teams because of the benefit and the money that will come from television and the market that is out there for college football.
From our standpoint, our goal is to win the Big 12 Conference and if we can win the Big 12 Conference then it gives us a good chance to get in that bracket. It really doesn't change our perspective, and the debate can go on forever based on what you play preseason whether it could keep you out of the game or not. Traditionally, if you win the Big 12 Conference it is going to give you a chance to be in a four-team playoff.
Translation: I'm for it and I still believe that you can play a soft nonconference schedule and if you win the Big 12 then you will have a good chance of getting in the playoff.
I noticed that your program is really active on social media, whether your players are guest Tweeters or your coaches are doing these chalk talks on the internet site. How active are you in the decisions and do you see it as aimed at recruits, fans, or both?
Gundy: Well, I'm very active and I'm involved in orchestrating the in-house service of social networking not only for recruiting but as a marketing tool. I think it gives our fans more access to the coaches, the team, the organization. At Oklahoma State we have to do everything possible to keep everybody involved and be involved in anything new. We feel like it gives our fans, the people we are responsible for, a closer look at Oklahoma State football. They get to know some of the players, they get to know some of the coaches. There are so many people that are out there on the social networking sites and so what better way to bring people closer to us than networking and using our in-house internet sources.
Translation: We can be our own media outlet and we don't to rely on anyone else to get our message across. It is easy now to direct fans and recruits to websites because that is where they are more than anywhere else. The internet and our support staff make it so easy to cut out the middle man (media) and go direct.