Big 12 Media Day: Gundy Feels Better

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy admits that he doesn't enjoy Big 12 Media Days nearly as much as Texas head coach Mack Brown. On Tuesday, Brown went up and down the hall at the Country Club Plaza Marriott accepting congratulations on a national championship where in the past he walked similar halls facing the questions of critics and doubters.

Gundy senses the doubters -- media observers wondering if he is a head coach that will have significant success at Oklahoma State. He knows it will be more fun after winning campaigns and bowl games, but in the meantime will defend himself and his program with the doubting Thomases, doubting Bills, and doubting Jameses.

"I think I went through a learning process," Gundy said of last season. "I was fairly confident last year. I've had a really good feel for who we were as a team. Some of the concerns I had last year fortunately came true. I was concerned about being young at quarterback. I was concerned about playing a freshman at center, so on and so forth.

"It's a nonfactor at this point. I've been asked that question several times today. I'm much more comfortable in the overall scheme of things that you asked. I think I'm doing a better job now of handling the time demand, people pulling me so many different directions on a daily basis."

Gundy added that the lessons learned in year one have been applied as he starts his second season as the head coach at his alma mater.

"I'm focusing a little bit more on football," said Gundy, who began coaching the quarterbacks in the spring and will continue with that in the fall. "Obviously we've had a lot of success recruiting. So we're focusing a lot on recruiting. But I am more comfortable now. I don't think there's any coaching school that prepares you to be a head coach. I think you learn on the run. Hopefully, I've learned to delegate and to handle things time-wise more efficiently. I think that's where I've gotten better as a coach in the last 12 months."

While Gundy has improved as a coach, it's now important that his team improves. He has concerns such as a lot of youth on defense at linebacker and some in the secondary. There will be two young offensive guards on the offensive line. There are key areas where this team can feel much better starting with quarterback Bobby Reid's improvement.

"The thing that we worked on this spring was putting him in a situation where he could have success doing some things we thought really gave him an opportunity to play well in live scrimmages to start to develop some of the confidence," Gundy explained of the approach with the redshirt sophomore quarterback. "He's a better player now than when he ended the season last year. He needs to have success early in the season to develop that confidence. Play in that position with a lot of confidence makes you a much better player. So we're bringing him along. We expect him to play better earlier in the season."

With better quarterback play and more experience with the offense the real disaster of last season, too many turnovers, can be avoided.

"Offensively it's very simple: We turned the ball over too many times," Gundy said of the 30 giveaways the Cowboys had in 2005. "Almost everybody we played, we moved the football. We just turned it over, gave ourselves a chance to win. Eliminate turnovers and find ways to make big plays, on the flip side of that, defensively, force turnovers and eliminate chunk plays which are tackling plays."

The addition of North Carolina transfer and high school All-American wide receiver, 6-3, 230-pound Adarius Bowman will help with quarterback success and prevent turnovers.

"I think Adarius will show up a lot this season," said Gundy. "Six-foot-three, 230 pounds, runs fast, got good hands. He's had a great offseason. And when you have skilled players that can make plays when things don't go right all the time, when it's not blocked exactly the way you want it or the throw may not be exactly where it's supposed to be, when there's guys that make plays with the ball in their hand, like you said, makes you look a lot better, and he's the guy that can contribute to that."

There are other additions that will help as well.

"Dantrell Savage, junior college player that is coming in, we think can do some things with the ball in his hands," Gundy said of the JC All-American running back. "I feel like we're more athletic at linebacker in the secondary, but we're going to play with some guys that haven't played. Jacob Lacey is playing corner for us, (and) didn't play very much last year. He's just a sophomore. Andre Sexton is a redshirt freshman that didn't play, (and) is going to start at safety for us. At linebacker position you've got Chris Collins, (another) freshman, (who) hadn't played. And you have Jeremy Nethon that moved from the safety spot to linebacker that hasn't played that position. More athletic, but not as experienced as we were. "

If all those positives and corrections pan out this season then you can expect Gundy to enjoy his trip next July to San Antonio for a meeting with the media to be a lot more enjoyable.

GoPokes Top Stories