Mike Gundy Q&A

OSU first-year head coach Mike Gundy has a career record of 1-0 after Saturday night's season-opening victory but he was more concerned with what lies ahead and not the past during Monday's media luncheon. Gundy is not taking Florida Atlantic lightly (even though they are ranked 119th out of 119 Division I-A teams in the preseason by The Sporting News), and he doesn't expect his team to either when the Cowboys travel to Florida for Thursday night's nationally televised game on ESPN2.

Question: Do you feel like you've got tailbacks who can do the job for you this season?
Gundy: Well, we really don't know what we have other than Julius Crosslin gave me a feel for he has. Julius is not going to be Tatum Bell or Vernand Morency, ever. He's 250 pounds. But they aren't him with what he did the other night. There were times when he should have gone down and he was getting yards for us. We use him as a mix-up guy. When we think they're getting a little bit fatigued we put him in and pound on them. He proved to me kinda what he is. Michael Hamilton is so young and his skills remind me so much of Tatum Bell's, with the exception of the 4.3 (in the 40-yard dash). That's where Tatum separated himself from the other guys. If he ever got out there it was over; it didn't matter.... Michael Hamilton has some of those skills that he did. He looks just like Tatum, with the exception of the 4.3 (speed). Now that's a big thing but the way he carries himself, in practice the way he runs. If he's not fresh he's not near as effective as when he's fresh. Tatum was that way until Tatum finally grew up and decided I can do this when I'm tried. Well, I think Michael has the ability to develop into that type of player. Mike's mental toughness has come a long way in three weeks as you guys know from the Ponca City practices when he got hit and laid on the ground for five minutes. And they've gotten a lot better.

Question: Do you worry about him being distracted going home to Florida (Hamilton is from Melbourne, Fla.) and playing in front of family and friends?
Gundy: I hadn't thought of it until you brought it up. It should make him want to player harder, but you would hope that it wouldn't make him nervous.

Question: Is it fair to say that your best runners right now are Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid?
Gundy: I think that's right. I hope it changes ... I would prefer to not run those guys all the time. But our staff has the responsibility to get the ball into the hands of the guys who can make plays.

Question: And right now that's the two quarterbacks?
Gundy: They're two of them. Right now I think everybody would agree that those two guys, when they run the ball, they give us a chance to score points so they have to carry the ball. My long term (goal) would be that our quarterback would maybe carry the ball three or four times by design. I don't know how many times they carried the other day. Fifteen, probably.

Question: Is finding a running game – other than with your quarterbacks – a priority?
Gundy: Offensive football is guys who can make big plays touching the ball. That's how you score points. Montana State had a 14-play drive against us the other day, and that's very rare now days. You don't see many drives over eight plays any more. With all the different styles of defenses you see with attacking, stunting ... they cause bad plays or they allow good plays. So, because of that you don't see long drives any more. Offense has got to get chunk plays in order to score points. We didn't get any chunk plays the other night; that's why we didn't score any points.

Question: How good is Florida Atlantic quarterback Danny Embick?
Gundy: This guy is good. I've read where he's a transfer from West Virginia. He's good. You need to look at the tape on him. I'm telling you, he's good. This kid is 6-1, 200 to 205 (pounds), and can run. He's probably 4.6 (in the 40). He's savvy. He plays like Josh Fields. Against Kansas, when they got pressure, he steps up in the pocket, plants his foot and throws a 66-yard strike for a touchdown ... on the run basically. He makes plays in the game I saw, where he's under pressure and he's running and he throws a dart just as accurate as can be. He's a good player.

Question: What does it mean to have a Jamie Thompson on the defense?
Gundy: Jamie is a joy for us to coach. He's one of those players you don't have to ask about how his effort was. He always gives great effort. Football is important to him. He's one of those guys who you know when he graduates he's going to go out there in the real world and he's going to be successful in whatever he does because he's got the mental makeup to prepare himself and work hard.

Question: How important is he to your secondary play?
Gundy: He's got a lot of pressure on him because he not only has to prepare himself but he also has to help get those young guys lined up.

Question: He's a vocal leader, isn't he?
Gundy: Oh yeah, he talks all the time. And that's a comforting notion for our young players to hear him, and let him talk. He's almost like a fatherly figure (for them) – everything is going to be OK.

Question: Do you think people across the country realize how dangerous of a game this is for Oklahoma State?
Gundy: I don't know. I do. Somebody put something on my desk the other day that they had printed off the Internet – ( a column written) by Dennis Dodd (of CBSSportsline.com). It basically said I don't know who in the world scheduled this game and send Oklahoma State – a Big 12 team – to play the first of September in the heat and humidity at Florida Atlantic against a good (Howard) Schnellenberger coached team. And then they're the 112th-ranked team in Sporting News magazine. I can tell you this, I'd like to see the other 111 teams that are better than them... You don't just want to schedule those guys, and put them on your schedule and think you're going to get a win.

Question: What are your thoughts about Howard Schnellenberger?
Gundy: He coaches football the way it's been coached for a long, long time. Everything goes in cycles in every thing we do, and his cycles stay the same. The common denominator with successful football programs and teams over the long haul has been toughness.

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