Gundy Spends Sunday Morning With Recruits

It was appropriate what Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy had not even reviewed the video of the Arkansas State win before his weekly Sunday conversation with the media. Instead the Cowboy head coach had been recruiting since early Sunday morning.

"We had six players in here on official visits, (and) families and prospects that we needed to meet with," Gundy said of his Sunday activities leading up to the conference call.

The six players on official visits included defensive end Wes Oglesby of Arlington Grace Prep and offensive lineman Trent Williams of Longview in Texas. Williams' teammate Adrian Reese of Longview and the Lufkin trio of wide receiver E.J. Shankle, defensive back Leonard Hewitt and linebacker Mandela Roberts also made the trip to Stillwater. Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson wide receiver Terrell Reese was also in to visit the Cowboys.

It was obvious Saturday night in the Cowboys third straight win over inferior competition that they need help on offense. Gundy was asked if the lack of playmakers was a problem in getting the new spread offense up and running or if it was just the fact that it's the first year of the offense and it's still new to the OSU offensive players.

"That's quite a bit of it," Gundy said alluding to the offense being new. "It's our job as coaches to give them what they can handle."

Then he switched from the newness of the offense to the newness of the players operating it. Gundy rattled off the names of players at skill positions in the offense - other than quarterback Bobby Reid and veteran D'Juan Woods - who are playing for the first time.

"(Mike) Hamilton, (Julius) Crosslin, (Tommy) Devereaux, (Ricky) Price, (Jeremy) Broadway, (Greg) Gold, (Seth) Newton, (Brandon) Pettigrew and (Paschal) Smith - these are all guys that are playing for the first time," said Gundy. "There is a learning curve for them. It's like coach (Vance) Bedford said on the headsets last night, ‘hey coach, do you realize we have three true freshmen and a guy that played quarterback last week out there in the secondary?' That was in the fourth quarter. It's the same way on offense. We are playing eight or nine guys that touch the ball and have to make plays that are really young."

It was obvious the biggest disappointments in the 20-10 win over Arkansas State, that did improve the Cowboys to a shaky 3-0 on the season heading into Big 12 play in two weeks with Colorado, were the poor execution on punts in the first half, the overflow of penalties on the offense, especially in the second half, and some poor tackling on defense that allowed the Indians and primarily their tailback Antonio Warren to rush for 200 yards as a team. Warren finished with 132 yards to keep his string of 100-yard games intact at three for the season.

"The bad snap caused the problems on the punt," said Gundy, who also said he didn't expect any changes on the punt team. "I know my Dad said he wouldn't do it that way (spread punt), but look how many balls we've downed inside the 20. It was working well up until last night when he had the low snap. We are able to get down and cover a good punt returner and defend with three or four guys instead of one or two. We just have to be better at the operation time of the punt.

"Offensively, the way we played we deserved to get beat," said Gundy frankly. "During the open week we have to work on the discipline part of our offense. We have to be much better to win in this league (Big 12) because we will see teams that are bigger, stronger and faster. We have to limit big runs like we gave up last night and then we have to make plays with the ball in our hands. We can't turn the ball over like we did last night."

Gundy said the off week would be used to work on fundamentals and improve in all those areas and more as they begin to prepare for Colorado coming to Boone Pickens Stadium on Oct. 1.

Even without looking at the tape Gundy felt that Reid showed signs that he will improve and the offense will improve with him. Reid finished with just 18 yards rushing on 10 carries, but he was impressive on several occasions in avoiding the rush and buying time for a potential big play on the fly. He can fly the ball and was a victim of some of his receivers' drops in going 8-of-21 for 148 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

"He provides the kind of ability that puts a scare in the defense," said Gundy. "He has a strong arm, as you could see on that one play where he scrambled and gunned it to D'Juan Woods downfield, D'Juan kind of quit running because he didn't think Bobby could throw it that far on the run. When he starts running around good things happen, and the defense has to be scared of that."

Reid is a unique character in that he seems to have an incredible amount of poise and confidence for a quarterback just getting his feet wet in playing games at the Division I college level. He never seemed rattled at any point in the game and afterwards was very relaxed in discussing it.

"We made a lot of mistakes offensively, but the defense hung in there with us and had our backs and we just thank the defense for that," Reid said. "I've been playing ball all of my life - since I was four or five - and you just go out there and have fun. Sometimes you might not win and sometimes you do but either way you go out there to have fun."

That belief and attitude explains how he is so relaxed in the heat of battle commanding an offense that except for the linemen and wide receiver D'Juan Woods have virtually no more experience than he does. For all the miscues, penalties, fumbles, including a bad pitch by Reid that ASU recovered on the OSU 4-yard line, Reid still came up big on a play drawn up on the sidelines that set up the Cowboys only second half touchdown. It was a 29-yard strike to Woods crossing the field.

"The play that me and D'Juan connected on, coach drew it up and told us to go out and execute it and we did," Reid said of the play that led to a Julius Crosslin one-yard touchdown dive. "The line blocked and tight ends blocked and we executed the play fake between me and the running back and D'Juan made a good catch."

Finally, there is the improvising and Reid showed he was a champ at that with every scramble and a 60-yard throw on the run in the first half that came very close to being a spectacular touchdown.

"Backyard football. Sometimes things don't always go the way we planned and that's when me and my guys have to get in the backyard mode," said Reid, still smiling.

The good news is the Cowboys are 3-0 and Reid is certain to get better. The hope is "his guys" will get better with him. The bad news is the offense does have a long way to go and a short time to get there as Colorado looms in two weeks.

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