Will It Be Pena Or Reid?

Mike Gundy can laugh about it now, and he did Monday while meeting with the media to talk about Saturday's Bedlam showdown in Norman. But four years ago, with Gundy as offensive coordinator, the Oklahoma State Cowboys entered their season finale against Oklahoma with Aso Pogi at quarterback. But freshman Josh Fields came off the bench to lead OSU to the improbable 16-13 upset of the fourth-ranked Sooners. "Les (Miles) wanted to start Aso. I wanted to start Josh," Gundy said with a laugh Monday.

Gundy was laughing Monday but knows that he and offensive coordinator Larry Fedora are going to have an important decision to make later in the week when they pick a starting quarterback – sophomore Al Pena or redshirt freshman Bobby Reid.

"We're going to let them practice Tuesday and Wednesday, see who executes best and whoever gives us the best opportunity and then try to make a decision," Gundy said.

Pena, who started three games while Reid was out with three dislocated toes on his right foot, came off the bench to complete 25-of-42 passes for 351 yards (fifth best in school history) and four touchdowns while throwing two interceptions in last week's 44-34 loss to Baylor. Reid had thrown two interceptions in the first quarter and a half before being pulled by Gundy.

Gundy said it the decision will be based on which player gives the Cowboys the best opportunity to defeat the Sooners for the third time in the last five years.

"I think that's the hand we've been dealt. Bobby was the starter, but Al played better at the end of the game than Bobby played early in the game. I think that we always put the player in who deserves to play, if that player gives us the best chance to win," he said.

Reid and OU starting quarterback Rhett Bomar, also a redshirt freshman, were both highly recruited quarterbacks out of Texas two years ago. They both won the starting jobs early in the season over older, more experienced players (Reid beat out Donovan Woods and Bomar won the battle with Paul Thompson). Both struggled on the field this season, but Bomar has begun to play better as the season progresses while Reid has continued to struggle.

"I think Bomar is a considerably better player now than he was eight games ago, or whenever it was he started starting. He doesn't make the big mistakes, he's active, he runs around, for the most part he's accurate (throwing the ball)," Gundy said. "We'd love for (Bobby) to be playing well, but the one thing that's hurt him is being out for six weeks, five weeks or whatever, because he didn't get to do anything. He just sat there because of his foot, and I think that has some affect on it. It was just an unfortunate situation. Bomar's had a 1,000 reps now, and Bobby's had probably 150, 200."

Reid refused to attend Monday's gathering with members of the media.

"I don't know exactly what the reason for that would be but in this profession, and when you're a player you're unfortunately in this profession now, it's not like it used to be – these guys are just like pro athletes to a certain extent, and you're going to have times things don't go your way and you still have to respond to people who have interest in it," said Gundy, who didn't know about Reid's refusal to meet with the media until told by a reporter. "The message I would try to give him is if people want to talk to you, you talk to them and you're up front and you tell them the way you feel. If there's something you can't say about an opponent, you don't say it."

Reid has thrown for 602 yards (52-of-108 for 48.1 percent) and two touchdowns while being intercepted four times this season. He was pulled midway through the second quarter against Baylor, a week after being taken out against Texas Tech when his fumble resulted in a game-tying touchdown (although the Cowboys came back to win when Pena orchestrated a game-winning drive in the final six minutes). Gundy says he believes Reid will accept whatever decision the coaching staff makes in naming a starter against the Sooners.

"I think we just deal with him like we would other people, other players on the team. There are other guys that go through that – Michael (Hamilton) and Julius (Crosslin) went through that when they made some earlier mistakes. He's a man. He's 20 years old, (and) he has to get himself going. We're there for him, and we're supporting him and putting him in a position to have success, but he has to handle some stuff internally himself to get ready to play. He's got to believe in himself and keep going. There's a lot of young players that make mistakes. If you make them, there's only one way to fix it – work harder, compete and keep going. It's not going to happen if you sit back and feel sorry for yourself."

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