Gundy On The Win, Confidence & Road Trip

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is not a very worldly person these days. "I haven't watched television or read a single newspaper," Gundy said during in his Sunday teleconference with the media. "The only scores I know are the ones people have told me. I haven't seen a single highlight clip."

What he has seen -- and the entire game -- is the video from the Cowboys 52-10 win on Saturday night over Missouri State.

"It was about what we thought on Saturday night," Gundy said of the Cowboys' 1-0 start. "There were some good things and there were some mistakes made. I thought we played hard. We had a lot of young players playing. On defense we had some busts, but I thought we chased the ball."

It wasn't all that surprising that Gundy was impressed with Michael Hamilton, claiming that he sometimes cuts Hamilton short on credit, but that he really appreciates the sophomore running back. He thought Adarius Bowman played pretty well. He had praise for Bobby Reid at quarterback, but cited some areas where Reid can improve. He hoped that the long touchdown pass right before halftime was an early turnaround for D'Juan Woods, who uncharacteristically dropped some passes early.

"I thought the offensive line was average," said Gundy. "They did play well at times. Bond (left tackle Brady Bond) played pretty good especially for his first time to be out there in a college football game."

Defensively, Gundy gave credit to the defensive line, which he felt played well even though there weren't a lot of statistics by the guys up front. Gundy added that the front liners just played a half and a series. The concern with the young secondary was with some noticeable mistakes.

"(Perrish) Cox just busted a coverage and made a mistake on that one play," said Gundy. "In the second half we had a lot of guys playing that hadn't had a lot of reps. There were guys playing that were on the scout team during the week. We wanted to play them, but we have to get those things cleaned up."

Besides Cox, there was credit and also critques for the other freshmen that played. Derek Burton Jr. had big numbers, and Gundy said he was improving but has further to go to play a regular role than the public and media may think. Running bnack Keith Toston had a big first game with two touchdowns but also a fumble.

"He has the ability to make a play in space," said Gundy. "He has to protect the ball. Guys at this level tackle the ball differently and he has to adjust to that. He has to protect the ball better and our coaches will work with him on that."

It is time to move on and the Cowboys have to go on the road to play an Arkansas State team that defeated Army 14-6 on Saturday in Jonesboro, Ark. The game with the reigning Sunbelt Conference champs will be in Little Rock, a not so neutral site. The Cowboys will be playing a team much better than Missouri State. Off the big win could that be a problem?

"I want our players to have confidence in themselves," Gundy said in addressing that topic. "We did good things, but we made mistakes that we cannot make against better competition. There were enough plays on both side of the ball that we can do some coaching on that. Tell our players that they can't overcome those mistakes against faster athletes. That they will have to fit in the right spot and square up on blocks. We have to play good fundamental football."

Gundy called it a good challenge playing Arkansas State on the road, hinting that he feels this game might fit in with the progression of this young team at the right time. He said watching film of Arkansas State on defense that they run and tackle well. They have better athletes on that side of the ball than they had a year ago and more team speed.

As for the Cowboys they need to learn to carry their game on the road something they failed at a year ago. The worst efforts, with the most mistakes, seemed to happen in College Station, Texas, Ames, Iowa, and Waco, Texas. At the end of last season Gundy said he wanted to examine the Cowboys road routine and see if a change needed to be made. Apparently, there will be.

"Yes, we're going to change some things," said Gundy. "Primarily in the later part in the week. It's not something I want to make public."

His only elaboration was that it would involve items under the supervision of director of football operations Jimmy Gonzales, meaning travel planning and also preparation involving the entire football staff.

Just bottle up efforts like the one last night and add some improvement each week and the road should become a much friendlier place for the Cowboys this season.

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