Gundy Opens Up About Season, Media, Etc.

On Wednesday, head coach Mike Gundy hosted the beat reporters for a season wrap and discussion of the State of Oklahoma State Cowboys football. Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations Gavin Lang joined reporters Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World, John Helsley of The Oklahoman, Cliff Brunt of the Associated Press, and the only internet or magazine reporter was myself representing Go Pokes.

It was informal with the only recording equipment used to transcribe the session and make sure the quotes were correct. In all, there was almost a full hour (59 minutes and 40 seconds) to transcribe.

The topics were wide ranging from quarterback where it took only a few minutes for the word that Gundy named Mason Rudolph the starting quarterback heading into spring to get out (Helsley on Twitter and Allen on Triple Play Sports Radio) to criticism last season, the offensive line, recruiting, the College Football Playoff, and the media in general.

Gundy also said the program is on a upward plane climbing toward where it was several years ago when a Big 12 title was won but he warned the Big 12 is getting more difficult as a conference.

He also informed the group of reporters that spring football will start on Monday, March 9, and that the spring game (he felt they would be able to stage some type of game) would be held on Saturday, April 18. That event will also include a lot of interaction between himself, former players, a possible broadcast crew and will be broadcast on the video boards in Boone Pickens Stadium.

Here is a sampling of Gundy's comments with many stories to be written by all the reporters over the coming days and weeks.

Gundy on Mason Rudolph being the starting quarterback: "Mason is our starting quarterback. J.W. [Walsh] is going to be in there and get all the reps behind (Rudolph in practice). Daxx (Garman) will get some work. We can do some things different with J.W. than we do with Mason. (Walsh) can pull it and run it. . . . He has earned the right to be a quarterback, and he’s a good one. He just hasn’t stayed healthy very long."

Gundy on Mason breaking in as the starter late in the season and why not any earlier: "Everybody wanted to do it earlier. He was not ready to play. Period. . . . You can look at some of the greatest quarterbacks ever in the NFL. When they played before they were ready, they were terrible. (Rudolph) was not ready. People say, ‘Well, how do you know?’ I just have to go on 25 years (of coaching experience). What if he goes out there too early, gets sacked six times and gets a concussion like Daxx did? Now what are we going to do? How is (Rudolph’s) demeanor? How is his appearance? How are his leadership skills? It’s not the same."

Gundy on how the season turned out: "(In 2013), we had a tremendous season. We were one play from winning our second Big 12 championship in three years (but lost to OU in Stillwater), and then in the bowl game (against Missouri), we lost in the last minute or so. When you finish like that, people just don’t have a good taste in their mouths. Now, everybody wants to take pictures, and we’re the same team that at one time (had a five-game losing streak)."

Gundy on media criticism, in particular, the O'Colly (student newspaper) editorial that called for a change in the head coach position: "That is not the world we live in. They are trying to do something to make themself something and what they don’t understand… I’ll be real candid with you, it’s like right now that I’m not a real big fan of sports talk radio. Let me tell you why, they get on, forget me, it’s we need to fire this guy, we need to fire this guy, no, we need to fire this guy. Well, what about firing you. You (radio hosts) say a lot of things that aren’t true and it’s been proven things you’ve been saying are way off. Now, those are big statements to make about people. If you want to get on and jaw and say this and that about people, but when you get on and say they ought to be fired it’s not just, it’s a university, it’s a pro franchise, it’s the players, it’s the fans, there is a lot to that. It’s too easy to step out and say that and there’s no repercussions. That’s an example of what you asked me about that article (O’Colly). I didn’t read it and they (friends) told me the brunt of it and I really didn’t think anything about it and that’s just some punk college kid that doesn’t have a clue. I could really care less to be honest with you."

Gundy on recruiting a running back: "That’s what we have to get. We have to pick up a running back in this class. We can’t talk about (specific prospects). We have everything we need. We just need to get a running back, and we will.”

Gundy on the development of the offensive line: "We played (in the TicketCity Cactus Bowl) with a senior, two sophomores and two freshmen. I was surprised that they performed as well as they did. You’re playing on the road at Norman, and then you’re playing against a Washington team that had three All-Americans on defense. I think we had only one procedure penalty. (Redshirt freshman guard) Jesse Robinson is in there, just playing his (bleep) off. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he was playing hard . . . (Cowboy offensive linemen) have moved around all year."

Gundy on the College Football Playoff: "I thought it was really good. I thought the BCS worked, and some people thought it always brought together the two best teams. That wasn’t always true. (The College Football Playoff) gave us a better chance because it was four."

There is much more from the interview, and as written earlier it will be used in the coming days and weeks. Gundy was very forthright and relaxed and seems to still be in that same positive mindset that he has had throughout the bowl season.



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