Gundy: Baylor Is Next

For the first time in Big 12 Conference play Mike Gundy really enjoyed watching and reviewing tape of Saturday's contest. This is the coach that says win or lose he gets up and looks forward to getting back to work every Sunday, but winning and grading players after a win is a whole lot more fun.

On defense, Gundy pointed out the exploits of Victor DeGrate. The 6-3, 250-pound junior defensive end finished with four tackles, one tackle for a loss on Taurean Henderson, and two sacks of Tech quarterback Cody Hodges, running his season sack total to a team-leading five. Gundy called his effort instrumental in the win and was also happy with the solid play in the back of the defense.

Other defenders such as end Jerry Don Bray, tackles Ryan McBean, Xavier Lawson-Kennedy and Larry Brown received compliments, but it was a little guy that was new in the secondary that received extra credit. Freshman Jacob Lacey, who was an option quarterback a year ago at Garland Naaman Forest High in Texas, has been seeing time in the secondary. Against Texas Tech defensive coordinator Vance Bedford gave Lacey, who may weigh 170 pounds on a heavy day, an added role as the starting nickel back.

"He filled in well," Gundy said of Lacey. "I thought it was a good personnel move to let him come in and run around and make some plays."

Gundy said the reason Lacey and a number of other young players are making contributions - now winning contributions - for the Cowboys is they have some experience. There is no substitute for it, and it makes a decided difference that was on display against 13th-ranked Texas Tech on Saturday.

"I think a lot of it does when you look at players in this league," Gundy said referring to young players making an impact. "Rod Johnson has played better for us with his experience, and even though we didn't ask him to make many plays yesterday Ricky Price is playing better, (Calvin) Mickens and Jacob Lacey and you just go on down the list of guys that are playing better. There is no substitute for game experience. I haven't seen much, but I'm told (Rhett) Bomar is playing better at OU, and now he's had game experience. The young quarterback (Chase Daniels) at Missouri that comes in and spells Brad Smith is having game experience and getting into some sort of a comfort zone."

Speaking of zones, Gundy was very impressed again with the maturation of Mike Hamilton as a college running back. Hamilton, despite a four-inch gash on his right bicep that took 27 stitches to sew up, rushed for 161 yards on 23 carries, including the 83-yard touchdown run that started the scoring. Then late it was another back, Julius Crosslin, who had been the Cowboys short-yardage, goal-line back that pick up the load and carried it. He accounted for 46 yards on the game-winning, 80-yard drive over the final six minutes.

"Julius Crosslin really gave us a lift by what he was able to add to our offense being a punishing runner," Gundy said on his Sunday teleconference. "When Julius came in and started pounding on them I think he changed the tempo of the game, and I think our players rallied around him."

Now it is time to move on to Baylor, and the first question from the media was who plays quarterback? Who starts at quarterback? Redshirt freshman Bobby Reid was back in the line up to start against Texas Tech and led the Cowboys offense on three scoring drives, but after a careless fumble that allowed Tech to tie the game early in the fourth quarter Gundy made the switch to Al Pena, who finished the game and led the Cowboys on the game-winning drive. How hurt was Reid by the move, and will he need some repair to his psyche?

"We shouldn't have to do much with his psyche," Gundy said of Reid. "He's a man now and he has to understand that part of life is hard times, and he needs to go practice and realize he made a mistake and he has to be better. I'll meet with the offensive staff tonight and we'll play the quarterback that practices the best this week and gives us the best chance to win. In the meeting tonight at nine we'll discuss it and some of it may have to do with what problems Baylor presents for us on offense. They are really improved on defense and may be the second best defense in this league. Texas's offense contributes to the defense in that they know they are going to score a lot of points, and on defense they can be more of a risk taker. Baylor doesn't have that and I am very impressed with their defense. Well talk about it and see who gives us the best chance to win."

Winning can be contagious and for Gundy leading his team to this season's first Big 12 win was a good feeling. The ovation and well wishes that he received running off the field Saturday was something special.

"It feels good, and there are so many things involved with being a head coach like taping that part of the coaches show on the field before going to the locker room to join my team," Gundy said easily remembering what happened. "There has been a tremendous amount of support from the OSU people and they get frustrated, but the large part of it, they have been very supportive and those people being happy and excited about the win, it means a lot to me. This is my school. It felt good to get that conference win and to beat a very good football team."

GoPokes Top Stories