Cowboys Practice Notebook: Day 11

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy could barely spit out the first sentence of his post practice talk with his team inside the Sherman Smith Training Center and the Oklahoma State University Marching Band drum line filled the cavernous facility with the loud sound of drums.

Gundy should have known that something was up. First, it was his birthday. Second, his wife, Kristen, and his three sons were all there, as was his administrative assistant, Danielle Clary. Plus, nobody on the support staff was leaving to get an early start across the street. The birthday drum roll was a combination effort and scheme from Kristen Gundy and band director Wayne Bovenschen.

"That's right, he's 47 and we were running out of ideas," Kristen Gundy said with a smirk on her face. "The OSU band has always been special to us and my boys love the drum line. Wayne called me and brought up the idea and I thought it was an awesome idea and something he will always remember versus another shirt."

"I've been wanting to do this for the last two years and just didn't know the right person to call," Bovenschen said over his drummers. "I've been thinking about this since he turned 45."

"I would say the two of them probably came up with that," the head coach said. "It is good to have something a little different than football."

"This is the first time I've ever seen anything like it, as far as the whole band coming in and celebrating," defensive tackle James Castleman said. "It's not really announced, but it's the first time I've ever really seen any type of reaction for his birthday."

Gundy spent time congratulating the band members, who like his team are also in camp, band camp complete with two-a-day practices.

"It was a lot of fun," Gundy added. "I have a really good relationship with the band and the director, and those kids over there work really hard in two-a-days. I don't know who contacted them and brought them over but it is great for those players to see that."

More From The Birthday Coach
This being his 47th birthday and, yes, he is the man still. Hard to believe that took place almost seven years ago. The rest of the notes for today will be thoughts expressed by Mike Gundy after practice on Tuesday.

Gundy on Mike Yurcich in Year Two
If there is a coach that catches more grief or close to it than the head coach it is offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. Gundy continued his string of successful offensive hires, that also includes himself, by plucking the record-setting offensive coordinator from Shippensburg State.

Fans were not as convinced last season despite a strong offensive performance in the wake of some issues on the offensive line, quarterback, and running back.

Gundy was asked how Yurcich has improved as a coach.

"He's taken control in practice," Gundy said. "He's involved in every step in the huddle and he is coaching every player. He is just different now than he was.

"You know he went from the local hometown newspaper to USA Today. It is different. We all go through that. He did a good job last year and we had some issues here and there that kept us from being as good as we could be. As the season went on, I think his presence, you could tell we got better on offense. He's more comfortable now and I expect us to play very well."

James Washington Still Being Asked About
The 6-0, 193-pounder from tiny Stamford in the Texas Panhandle has done well in camp and caught another touchdown in practice on Tuesday. He's a newcomer that Gundy has talked about several times.

"You don't really recruit that many players from that level," the head coach started. "He's had great leaping ability and hand-eye coordination. I was just talking to one of our coaches today. The most pleasant thing about him is that he just plays hard and never says a word. He's a great person, up to this point with the time I've been around him.

"In recruiting, you aren't around him very much. He's a good young man and comes from a good family that has instilled some good values in him. I've never heard him say a word. He just keeps going. He's got a chance to be a pretty good player."

Gundy on the Big 12 Quarterbacks
Gundy is a former Big Eight quarterback, a coach of college quarterbacks, and now working on a decade as a head coach. He was asked about the quarterbacks in the league for 2014.

"The young quarterbacks have developed a little bit, so they'll be a little bit better," Gundy predicted. "At one point, we had five NFL quarterbacks playing in our league. I don't think we're to that point. We've got some guys that could potentially play in the NFL.

"Right now, Baylor's leading the charge with their guy. He's mature, he's experienced, he understands. He's put up big-time numbers and he's a senior now, I believe. He's a guy that is leading the charge, but there are some young up-and-coming guys. Two of them (J.W. Walsh and Trevor Knight) are in this state. Texas Tech's got one. There are some guys that are coming up in the program right now."

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