Gundy: Offense Wins

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is feeling fortunate this Wednesday evening. He doesn't have a starting quarterback and still hasn't decided on a starting running back, but for the second time in less than a week he was able to conduct a scrimmage on the Cowboys' own practice field and walk off knowing his football team came out healthy. Gundy said he will try it one more time with a 70-75 play scrimmage on Friday before the Cowboys buckle down and work totally on Montana State.

"It was a good scrimmage, and again, we stayed healthy and that's important," said Gundy.

The 70-75 play scrimmage on Wednesday leaned heavily toward the first teamers with 50 plays for the top units. Gundy said he thoughts the snaps were pretty evenly distributed between quarterbacks Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid.

"It was the best day for both of them today, it really was," said Gundy showing no favorite or even a hint of a twist. "That was the best offensive practice that we've had since we started. Offense won today. Much different team on offense. I thought it was a different approach on offense than what we've done. I thought the offense had their best scrimmage by far."

So what was so much better and what caused it? Last week offensive coordinator Larry Fedora said he planned to scale back some on the offense and start working the phases that he felt the unit would be most successful with.

"We're paring down some," said Gundy. "They (offensive staff) are mixing and matching some things to find out what we're best at."

One position that may have made it a better day was the running backs. Gundy thought the offensive line was performing well and all three running backs - Mike Hamilton, Calvin Roberts and Julius Crosslin - apparently had their share of good plays in the scrimmage.

"I think they are all going to play in the game," said Gundy. "I don't think it matters who goes out first, Calvin ran really well today. They will all play and I think we're using Crosslin more on the goal line and Hamilton and Roberts more in the field. But I think they will all play."

However, the questions for Gundy these days never stray far from his old position of quarterback. Since the Saturday scrimmage - and Gundy's talk of a twist - nearly 70 percent of the questions he's answered have been about quarterback. So how is his feel right now for Woods and Reid?

"I thnk I have a good feel, but I did once before and probably shouldn't have said anything," said Gundy. "I thought I did before. They (offensive staff) may not even name a quarterback. They may just send a guy out on September 3rd. I don't know what they are going to do. Again, unless they feel a lot different than me, from what they told me the other day, they are going to play both of them anyway."

Gundy sounded very much like the role as a CEO passing on the quarterback info from his discussions with the offense in their staff meetings. He was also asked if it would even matter who started the Montana State game.

"No, it's really not," answered Gundy. "I'd love to name a starter and go with it, if there's two guys that give us a chance then I think you have to live with it. It just depends on who is productive. We may play both of them at the same time. They are trying some different things out. I don't even know what it is called."

On the defensive side the Cowboys have been solid throughout the preseason. The defensive line has performed well and seems to be developing depth at tackle with Ryan McBean and Xavier Lawson-Kennedy still the frontliners. Defensive end is deep and linebacker is solid with the four seniors and Rodrick Johnson. The secondary has performed well but will rely on those freshmen. Today Gundy was gushing a little over the pups in the back end of the defense.

"You can ask Vance (Bedford) and Joe (DeForest) but I think this freshmen group of defensive backs is really talented," said Gundy very directly. "How talented and how productive they will be in the first game we don't know. But as far as their ability and what we recruited I think they are really happy with them. There are so many of them playing that they like.

"They like (Calvin) Mickens' size and his range. They like the way T.J. Bell handles the nickel back. They like (Andre) Sexton at safety and his ability to strike you. Quinton Moore may be the most athletic guy back there. For the future I think they are really excited about them. I'm concerned with how they progress early in the year because that is a scary position to be playing more than one. We just try to bring them along as fast as we can."

By an informal count it would appear that 10-12 freshmen will play in the opening game. They are talented, but there is always that uncertainty with young players getting their first taste under the lights. Keep that on the list of concerns and it really makes the quarterback decision not look quite so critical.

GoPokes Top Stories