Sunday Rewind: Celebration Over; K-State Next

As I listened to Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy answer questions from writers during Sunday afternoon's teleconference I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for Gundy and the rest of his staff. Cowboy fans were likely sitting on their duffs watching pro football, taking care of household chores, or simply relaxing on a Sunday afternoon all in the glow of Saturday's 45-14 win at Nebraska.

Even the players were relaxing or lifting with Rob Glass, it's optional on Sunday with the pleasant memory of what took place Saturday. Most fans will enjoy that win well into this week before really turning their attention to homecoming and Kansas State.

Gundy sounded no different Sunday during the teleconference than he did a week ago in reviewing a gut-wrenching 24-23 loss to Texas A&M. That is the nature of being a coach. The highs and lows don't last long because the next game, in this case Kansas State is right around the corner.

"It was a good win for everybody," said Gundy of the conquest in Lincoln, the first by OSU since 1960. "It was good for all the OSU people. Good wins and difficult losses don't last long in this profession. We can't live long on this one. We have to move on."

The coaching staff working all day in the football offices already had. The review and grading of the Nebraska tape, no doubt a pleasant chore, was finished earlier in the day. Gundy, himself, said he had already looked at a lot of Kansas State, primarily on defense. He did make some important points on Nebraska before moving on.

Despite the 317 yards rushing, 551 yards of total offense, and Dantrell Savage rushing for a career high 212-yards he wasn't too complimentary of the offensive line, which since losing center David Washington has given up just one sack in four games.

"Very average," Gundy said of the offensive line play versus Nebraska. "We had guys with the ball in their hands make a lot of plays, but up front we were very average. We're just an average blocking team right now and we have a long way to go in that area."

Overall, Gundy seemed to prescribe to the love 'em when they're down and push 'em when they are up theory. The linebackers as a group made 32 tackles, but when Gundy was asked if the combination of Donovan Woods (12 tackles, a sack, tackle for loss, two fumbles caused), Patrick Lavine (13 tackles, two tackles for a loss), and Jeremy Nethon (7 tackles and a fumble recovery) had their best game, he was conservative.

"I guess so, I'd have to look at the grades and talk to Todd (Bradford)," said Gundy. "They played played pretty good as a group."

The defense as a whole is tackling better, Gundy said. He feels since the defense made a commitment to improving in fundamentals they have been better. He still cites that they are light in places and get pushed around some, but overall, they are playing better.

Gundy was complimentary of Zac Robinson's play at quarterback and said he has seen a positive relationship develop between senior running back Dantrell Savage and new freshman back Kendall Hunter.

"I think they speak their own languarge," said Gundy, agreeing that the two have forged a bond. "I haven't heard Hunter say three words since July and Dantrell hardly ever speaks. I do see the two communicating alot, saw it yesterday. They have a lot in common. Dantrell is an intelligent football player and he has a lot he can pass on."

The Cowboy special teams need to improve. Saturday saw a blocked punt that fortunately did go 45 yards, a missed short field goal attempt by Jason Ricks that likely wasn't his fault, short kickoffs with Nebraska getting decent returns, and the return game for the Cowboys wasn't much with an average of 4.0-yards on kickoffs and a half yard on punt returns.

"We are using Dantrell (Savage) and Kendall (Hunter) more because Perrish Cox is playing so much on defense," said Gundy. "We would also like to use William Cole, but he is not far enough along. We'd like to keep fresh guys in there all the time."

Speaking of special teams, next Saturday homecoming opponent, Kansas State (6:05 kickoff) is pretty good in that area. The Wildcats represents a major concern.

"Any team that goes down to Texas and wins like they did is a very good football team," Gundy said of the Wildcats. "They are good on offense with a receiver that can make big plays, a running back that can make you miss, and the quarterback is a good player overall.

"Defensively, they are very physical and can press you. They are running a 3-4, which is a different scheme than they ran a year ago. (Number) 98 (Ian Campbell) can cause you problems. He's a good player, physical, and uses his hands well."

It all goes back to that attitude discussed in the first paragraph. It's looking in the mirror for too long, in football, that can get you beat. Stay out of the rearview mirror and keep your eyes focused on the road ahead. Now, of course, when you are driving, ocacssonal glances in the rearview mirror are advised.

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