It hasn't always worked out this way and if given his preference Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said again today he would prefer to have an open week after the first four weeks or games of the season. This year it has come right in the middle as Oklahoma State has gone through fall camp in August with really only a few days off separating the summer conditioning and the start of practice. Then the Cowboys have played six games in a row with some roller coaster emotions factoring in.
Gundy has seen his team impacted by injuries, not a lot of them, but a few. This open week, in his opinion, has come at a good time.
"There's been 10 weeks – all of August, all of September and then half of October," the head coach analyzed in his answer. "Then this season with the Central Michigan situation, playing well enough to win at Baylor outside of about five plays, obviously Pitt, then a big win against Texas because it's big for them when they beat Texas because so many of them are from Texas. Then coming back from as far as we did last week.
"It's just a lot of wear and tear mentally. [The open week] came at a good time for us. If you build it for success it would be after week four, but it is what it is. It's OK. I'm glad we've gotten to this point to where our players should be pretty healthy next week for practice."
Gundy started the season very relaxed, seemingly confident in what he had with this squad and what they would be able to do, how they would be able to play. There have been some serious bumps in the road such as the Central Michigan game on several accounts and then the loss at Baylor, a game that seemingly his team could have won.
Gundy explained why he is still very relaxed.
"I'm comfortable with where we are. We've played pretty well at times and if we didn't we were able to identify why we played well and find a solution," Gundy said calmly. "If there's a solution to the issues we have in every phase of the game, then I'm OK with that because we can coach and teach it, and the players are committing themselves to getting better.
"I'm not very relaxed when I don't have an answer for what would be football that's not quite up to par. We've got young men who are committed and we've been able to identify our problems at times and we have answers for it. That's coaching, and I enjoy that part of the game," he said.
Now, with six games left starting with a 1-4 Kansas team that seemed to improve a lot in a close call last week with TCU. Then the Cowboys face five conference contenders in a row in West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas Tech, TCU, and OU. Expectations will be the problems identified will be solved. Then there are always problems that creep up. Those will expect to have quick solutions.