Sunday Rewind: No Time For Feeling Sorry

Is Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy disappointed after Saturday's 49-17 loss to Bedlam rival Oklahoma? No doubt about it but Gundy wasn't showing it when he spoke on his regular Sunday teleconference. Gundy had already viewed the tape and was moving on, talking a lot about recruiting which kicks into full gear again this week and about preparations for an unknown bowl game the Pokes.

With all the moving ahead there was still time to analyze what happened Saturday in Norman and that was done early on Sunday.

Gundy clarified that there was no burning of the video and that part of the job was to look back and check effort of players, worthiness of the game plan, and how his team executed.

"We had no problem with the effort," said Gundy right off the bat. "It came down to the fact that their big guys (offensive line) mashed us. They did what I would have done in their situation, block down, kick out and then do it again.

"They attacked the middle of our defense unlike anybody else we've played this season. Most teams don't have the guys to do that, that big offensive line and those three tight ends. They challenged those guys and we were the ones they challenged them against."

Offensively, the Cowboys held up early, but Gundy cited the goal-line stand in the second quarter as a turning point in the game.

"We hung in there up front against them, but we couldn't punch it in on the goal line and that, along with missing the field goal early in the third quarter, took the wind out of our sails," added the head coach. "We'll regroup, but we'll have trouble with teams that can physically dominate us unless we can hit big plays on offense."

Gundy had no idea on injuries, but has concerns over quarterback Zac Robinson (shoulder), linebacker Patrick Lavine (ankle), and defensive tackle Shane Jarka (foot). Another source told me that Robinson's injury was likely a bruise and he could have played more but there was no sense in it because of the situation. Lavine was limping around late and after the game. Jarka left the locker room wearing a boot on his foot injury.

Those three players and the entire squad will have a full week to rest up. "They need to get away from the coaching staff," said Gundy. "They need the rest and need to work on academics."

Gundy asked the media the latest on the bowl situation and found they were hearing the same things he was -- the Cowboys will probably play in the Insight Bowl, with a shot at the Alamo Bowl.

That corresponds to what our sources have told us. Insight officials really want Oklahoma State, and the Alamo Bowl has a concern about taking Texas A&M because of their interim coaching situation and the fact that many A&M fans would simply come in the day of the game costing San Antonio's tourist industry. Bowls are all about business.

Either way the Cowboys move on immediately in recruiting, and practice preparations will begin next Sunday. Gundy said he plans on opening the first four or five bowl practices to the public so they can see the younger players. He said Alex Cate and Brandon Weeden would take snaps at quarterback and young guys would play on both sides of the ball with heavy work for those players in the final 30 minutes of the first six or seven bowl practices.

In the meantime, before practice begins next week, there will be recruiting to attend to by the coaching staff. Gundy said a full compliment of seven coaches would be on the road this week. He now anticipates signing as many as 27 players in the upcoming class, with as many as three coming in mid-term and taking part in spring practice.

Yes, the Cowboys are looking for junior college players. They are looking for defensive linemen, linebackers and safeties.

"We'd like to take two or three junior college players, but you just can't take on just to take a junior college player," said Gundy. "It has to be the right guy and they are in great demand and are hard to get. We are recruiting junior college players that top five teams are in on. It has to be the right guy and they have to be a fit.

"It's an important time right now and we have to make contact with these players," continued Gundy. "It is the most important thing we do, recruit these players and take care of them once they get here."

The head coach hinted that besides junior college prospects that his staff was going to go back and take a second look at some high school seniors that had finished up with strong senior seasons. The base of 16 early commitments gives them the luxury of going back and taking the time to find some seniors that were skipped over but had good seasons and proved they are worthy of that second look. Some of those would be in-state players as Gundy said if all things are equal they'd like to have in-state players.

The head coach also said despite the same 6-6 regular season record as a year ago that he feels the program is further along. A major reason for that feeling is the schedule the Cowboys faced as opposed to a season ago. Off the field it has to do primarily with academics.

"We played a difficult schedule," said Gundy. "In the end we will probably have played three, maybe four teams in the BCS (top 14 in the BCS poll) -- OU, Georgia, Kansas and Texas. The opener at Georgia and then coming back two weeks later at Troy made it more difficult. We have good young players working their way up the ranks. Our players are taking care of business and our seniors are graduating."

The two most important items on the agenda for December are clear. The Cowboys must recruit. They need help in several areas and they can bring in as many as two or three junior college players before the end of the month. They need to get healthy and prepare to make a fun, rewarding bowl trip that ends with a win so that they can go into next year with the positive momentum from a year ago, and this time make it last longer and reap greater benefits.

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