Gundy Hears And Reads The Criticism

Mike Gundy hears what people are saying about the Oklahoma State University football team. He knows that there are some people who don't think the Cowboys will win another game this season following last Saturday's 34-0 loss to Colorado. How does he know? Gundy reads every email that is sent to him, including the more than 50 emails from frustrated Cowboy fans that he received after Saturday's loss.

The first-year head coach of the Cowboys knows that people are frustrated that Oklahoma State has scored just 58 points in four games (which ranks 109th in the nation). He reads how upset Cowboy fans are that OSU was shut out for the first time at home since 1991 on Saturday. He knows that people are not satisfied with the production from the no-huddle, spread offense that the Cowboys installed this season.

"The talk is everybody has given up on us," Gundy said on Monday as Oklahoma State, 3-1, prepares to play Missouri, 2-2, on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium. "I know what people are saying. I read all my emails."

There's the one email that tells the Cowboy head coach that he needs to ditch the no-huddle, spread offense and "try to find a way to score enough points to win enough games this year to go to a bowl," Gundy said. "People say why don't you just put the tight end back in and run the power play, and throw it deep to D'Juan (Woods). It's not that easy."

Gundy says that's not going to happen, although he does admit that he is sympathetic to the Cowboy fan who spent $60 a ticket to watch his team struggle to put together back-to-back first downs on Saturday.

"The thing I hate about having a game like we had is I can't go anywhere in town because everybody in town thinks they need to console me," he said. "I have a beautiful wife, three kids, a good job. I'm happy. No one needs to console me, and that's the truth. I'm excited about practicing this week and playing Saturday and being able to improve our team. I really am.

"No matter what we do we don't want to be an undisciplined team that nobody wants to come watch," Gundy said. "There's nobody who's aware of our fans more than me, but we have a responsibility as a staff to the players on this team first, to the (athletic) department, to the school and to the fans.

"People say, are you just giving up on this year? (They say) you kicked 10 people off the team, so you're just saying you're giving up 2005 and planning for the future. No, that's not right. But we are doing what we think is best for the future, the future of this program.

"Nobody hates it worse than me that our people have to buy in and stay with us. Nobody hates it worse than me. The only thing that I ask anybody that I see on the street, the neighbors or anybody (is) you just have to stay with the kids. They're just kids. They're just 18, 19, 20 years old. They're not making money. You've got to support them. They're not pros. This football team is busting its tail (and) trying hard."

Gundy returned to Oklahoma State in 2001 as the offensive coordinator for first-year head coach Les Miles. The Cowboys won two of their first four games (with the wins over Louisiana Tech, 30-23, and Northwestern State, 24-0) before losing five in a row. OSU then beat Baylor 38-22 and upset fourth-ranked Oklahoma 16-13 to finish 4-7.

A freshman quarterback named Josh Fields had replaced Aso Pogi at quarterback during the season. Tatum Bell, who would eventually be a second-round NFL draft pick, was a sophomore who had yet to break the 1,000-yard mark in a season. In a 28-14 loss to Iowa State the Cowboys started Richard Schwartz at tailback.

"We weren't very good," Gundy said. "We started doing pretty good about three or four games into the next year, Josh's sophomore year. Tatum turned it up a little bit, and Josh was a good player."

Gundy in no way is comparing the 2005 team to the squad that went 4-7 in 2001 but started a stretch of three consecutive bowl appearances by going 8-5 in 2002. But he has a message for Cowboy fans and the teams remaining on the 2005 schedule – Missouri, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Baylor.

"Everybody's given up on us already. Everybody gave up on us after we played Arkansas State. Fortunately, as a staff and as a team, we haven't given up on ourselves. Our coaches and our players still think we can win games," Gundy said.

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